Experience is always handy in cricket. And my experience of four decades has taught me one major thing: don’t anticipate anything as far as BCCI is concerned. No matter what one writes or says, I have learnt not to expect logic in BCCI’s decision-making.
A cricketer of the stature of Mohinder Amarnath was sacked after a year without any official reason. Here is a player who pulled the likes of Jeff Thompson, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Imran Khan and many others, but couldn’t avoid the bouncer from BCCI. It’s a very sad day for Indian cricket.
Amarnath was inducted into the selection committee with a lot of fanfare last year and was expected to replace K. Srikkanth as the chairman of the committee. Unless he is told what wrong he did to deserve this treatment, the message is clear; stay within limits.
The selection committee is supposed to deliberate on the skills of players. Of course, there will be disputes among the selectors but a picture of unanimity has to be presented. On many occasions selectors have been privately upset on not getting what they wanted, but rarely have I seen a selector rebel.
Pranab Roy was under tremendous pressure when Sourav Ganguly was out of favour, but not once did he succumb to the pressure. At times he may have felt that it was unfair to Ganguly. This happened at the time of the infamous Chappell-Ganguly disagreements.
Different yardsticks have been applied for two different selectors. Before Srikkanth was appointed chairman of the selection committee, Vengsarkar was asked to quit the post of vice-president of the MCA. When he refused to do so, he was replaced by Srikkanth. Now we have the case of Roger Binny, the vice- president of KSCA, being in the selection committee as well.
The BCCI has clarified that it is not mandatory to go by the choice of zones for choosing selectors. If that is the case, the new set of selectors, none of whom has watched any of his State or zonal matches, will have to spend one full season assessing talent. This is unfair to players.
The pyramid that existed earlier had State representatives as part of the zonal selection committee and at the AGM would recommend their choice for the national selector. The logic behind this was to have the State selectors watch local matches and pick the best State team. This eventually would help the zone put up a side that national selectors would be impressed with.
With a new funnel mode replacing the pyramid pattern of BCCI choosing selectors, the selectors will have to watch a lot of matches. Perhaps this is the reason why their emoluments have been enhanced to Rs. 60 lakh per annum. However, the chairman of both selection committees will get Rs.10 lakh extra.
Sandeep Patil, having been associated with the NCA will be in an advantageous position as he has watched a majority of the players. But others will have to put more effort to be on the same page. Whatever happens we can only hope that the new model achieves what no other model has, that is, make BCCI logical.