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Shukla defends Dinda decision

New Delhi: Bengal skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla on Monday defended the decision of his deputy, Ashok Dinda, not to shake hands with Railways captain Murali Kartik at the end of their Ranji Trophy encounter here.

“Please don’t read too much into it, it was a minor incident,” said Shukla. The Bengal skipper spent most part of the Railways second innings in the dressing room, leaving Dinda to lead the side.

“I have a back problem, so I decided to rest,” he said.

Asked whether Dinda’s act went against the spirit of the game, Shukla said: “The spirit of the game should be maintained on the field. We all have seen what had happened on the field yesterday (Sunday).

“Bengal always maintain discipline and decency. When Kartik came over to shake hands with our players, they were in the process of cooling down. If he was serious, he should have waited. I don’t see anything wrong in what Dinda did.”

But the Match Referee P. Kalyanasundaram, showed his disapproval over the incident and was seen talking to Bengal coach Ashok Malhotra.

After close of play, Bengal players did not line up to shake hands with the Railways players and started their cooling-down drill at one corner of the ground. Kartik walked over to them and was seen shaking hands with a few. Dinda, however, refused and asked the former India left arm spinner not to disturb him.

Bengal were unhappy after Kartik refused to call off the match at the start of the mandatory overs and the players were heard passing sarcastic remarks about the rival captain.

Railways coach Abhay Sharma later said his team decided to continue because Nitin Bhille (100 not out) was batting on 77 at that time. “We wanted him to complete his century.”

Told that there were too many unpleasant incidents on the field after Kartik “Mankaded” Sandipan Das on Sunday, Sharma said: “We don’t want to talk about it. We were just doing our job. I am happy the way we played.”

The worst, however, was seen in the morning session on Monday. In the 5.5 overs that Bengal batted, the umpires had to intervene thrice to control the bickering.

The entry of Dinda was greeted with objectionable comments from the Railways players, with Kartik in the lead. When Shib Shankar Paul got out, bowler Krishnakant Upadhyay made a gesture of kicking.

Malhotra sounded bitter in the end. “Whatever happened only left a bad taste in the mouth. We did not start itů We only reacted. If they want to prove a point, they are welcome.”