Allrounder Deepak Hooda has abruptly pulled out of the Baroda squad on the eve of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, saying he is "demoralised" and "depressed" due to the conduct of his captain Krunal Pandya, the India allrounder. Hooda left the Baroda team hotel and the biosecure bubble in Vadodara on Saturday.
Baroda are placed in Elite Group C and are scheduled to play their first match of the league phase on Sunday against Uttarakhand.
Baroda Cricket Association secretary Ajit Lele confirmed Hooda's exit, saying the player had sent him an email. "He has withdrawn himself from the Baroda squad and checked out of the hotel. He had [a] major quarrel with Krunal Pandya," Lele told ESPNcricinfo. Lele said that he would await the updates from both Pandya as well as the Baroda team manager before deciding with the BCA management the next course of action concerning Hooda.
In the email, Hooda, who plays for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, said Pandya had treated him badly and used "abusive language" in front of the teammates and the opposition team during the training sessions this week.
"I am demoralised, depressed and under pressure," Hooda said in the e-mail. "As from last some days and at least from last couple of days, my team captain Mr. Krunal Pandya is using abusing language to me in front of my teammates and also other states teams who have come for participation at Reliance Stadium, Vadodara."
According to Hooda, Pandya bullied him on Saturday, used "misbehaving language" and even stopped him from training despite him having the permission of the head coach Prabhakar Bairgond.
"I told him [Pandya] that I'm doing my preparation with the permission of head coach [Bairgond]. He told me that 'I'm the captain, who is the head coach. I am the overall of Baroda team.' Then he stopped my practice showing his dadagiri (bullying)."
In his email to Lele, Hooda claimed Pandya was trying to "pull me down" and "threatening" his place in the Baroda team. Hooda, who has played for several IPL franchises, said he had never experienced "such a unhealthy atmosphere" in his career. "I [have] never face[d] such a bad behaviour given by a team captain. I'm a team man and I always keep my team above me. Sir, really I got hurt a lot I have a respect in my game. I have values in my life.
"In view of above facts, I am unable to play and perform my best under circumstances where every time our Baroda team captain [is] poking me and disturbing me in my preparation."