CHENNAI: First there was Michael Chopra. Then, Ranti Martins’ name started doing the rounds. And now there is Danny Batth. The Wolverhampton Wanderers defender is of Indian origin — his middle name is Tanveer — and he is the latest PIO footballer to declare his intentions to wear the India jersey. But the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is casting a wary glance at the defender’s rather enthusiastic comments.
Batth is currently in Mumbai and visited India coach Stephen Constantine at a trial session for U-22 players in the city. His meeting with Constantine was productive, according to Batth and the subject of wearing India colours was broached. “We spoke in detail about his vision for the national team. I would love to be available for selection. It would make all my family, friends and teammates very proud,” Batth was quoted as saying.
The 26-year-old also said that he was willing to consider the possibility of giving up his English passport for an India one, as long as his prospects of playing in England were not affected. Regulations require Batth to reside in the country for an year before being eligible for an Indian passport. Batth currently plays in the English second tier and is rated quite highly by experts, who consider him good enough to play in the Premier League.
But his interest has not kicked up a storm at the AIFF offices. Federation sources indicated that they were waiting for something more concrete than words. “Michael Chopra has mentioned on multiple occassions over the years about how he wants to play, but he still does not have an Indian passport. Ranti Martins name has also been mentioned. Until Danny Batth is eligible for selection for the national team, this is not an issue for the federation.”