Before taking a hat-trick against Pune Warriors in the last edition of IPL, there wasn’t much information on Ajit Chandila’s cricketing credentials save that he was a ‘club-level’ off-spinner who plied his trade in ‘Hot Weather’ tournaments across Delhi.
The lanky off-spinner grabbed a lot of eyeballs when Rajasthan Royals decided to field him in the playing XI.
Haryana, the state he represents in domestic cricket, didn’t find him fit enough to play more than two Ranji Trophy games back in 2010, after his action came under scanner and he was sent for correction to the National Cricket Academy.
There were a lot of questions raised about how he landed an IPL contract. “He used to be a decent club cricketer. He would play for Air India in Hot Weather tournaments like Lala Raghubir, Om Nath Sood etc. One never thought that he will land an IPL contract. He got a hat-trick, but trust me, lot of people thought that he was an over-achiever,” a DDCA official, who has seen Chandila for the past decade, said. “He is above 30 now (Cricinfo says 29 years and 162 days) and it was certainly surprising when a near-30 club cricketer gets an IPL contract out of nowhere.”
A resident of Faridabad, Chandila has played for nondescript clubs like Hari Singh Cricket Academy in Ghaziabad, Kishengunj Club for sums like Rs 1500, 2000 per match.
Chandila is also a wholesale dealer of cricket shoes and T-shirts and had the contract to supply gear to some of the big cricket academies in Delhi. “He is not a bad guy but he is what we call a “jugadoo” in north Indian lingo (master arranger). He could arrange club contracts for players in no time and has always been a smooth talker,” an official said.