That the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed selectors without consulting zones has been much talked about. What we can be optimistic about is the fresh batch of selectors ready to begin their journey of transforming Indian cricket.
Sandeep Patil and Roger Binny are known for their international performances. But apart from them are three selectors with immense contribution to Indian cricket.
First up is Rajinder Singh Hans. He is a passionate cricketer who is also a qualified level III coach of NCA.
Initially, he played for Delhi and did well under the captaincy of Arun Lal for North Zone in the under-22 C.K. Nayudu Trophy in 1975.
As a left-arm spinner, Hans took 340 first class wickets in 78 matches at an average of 22.13. In 1978, he took nine for 152 in an innings in the Ranji Trophy final against Karnataka. As a junior national selector, I never saw him miss a single ball. What makes Hans so perfect is that rarely does his assessment of a player go wrong.
Second in line is a man whom I saw as a chirpy 15-year-old in 1982. Saba Karim playing for the East Zone schools in Mumbai at the Islam Gymkhana in Mumbai (W.V. Raman did well in that game too), impressed none other than Polly Umrigar. We saw a stamp of class in his batting and keeping.
His team had conceded a huge lead to South Zone, but from the first ball of the second innings Karim played some delightful shots and scored 89.
With fierce competition for wicketkeepers in the Indian team, he could get to play only one Test. Misfortune struck when he lost an eye while keeping wickets to Kumble in the Asia Cup. Karim is a smart thinker of the game. In 120 first class matches he scored 7,310 runs, took 243 catches and effected 55 stumpings.
Vikram Rathour is another worthy find. Having been on the domestic circuit as a cricketer for around two decades, he passionately guided youngsters once his playing days were over. Rathour, who was instrumental in mentoring Yuvraj Singh, possesses an unusual foresight in assessing the talent of a player.
Having played 146 first class matches and scoring 11,473 runs at an average of 49.66, he is excellent at reading a player’s response to situations.
Insistent on players playing their natural game, Roger Binny is an experienced eye. As a teenager in 1974, he was part of the BCCI camp of Hemu Adhikari. The camp had talents like Kapil Dev, Shivlal Yadav, Yograj Singh and many more. Binny was natural in whatever he did and Adhikari never changed his technique — while bowling his back toe pointing backwards remains the same. Even being a Level III coach of Cricket Australia, Binny continues to adhere to what Adhikari taught him. Allow players to be natural.
The only thing that can be said about Sandeep Patil is that he is finally at the right place at the right time. He would be the best to promote youngsters. Cricket administration was never his forte and he got wasted at NCA.
As a coach of India ‘A,’ handling the team and getting youngsters to effectively combine was what he did splendidly. And now most of those players have established themselves in the Indian team.
We have a perfect five on our plate. They have everything it takes to form a brilliant team. The Indian team is known to work miracles when five brave players get going. Hopefully, these five wise men will be bold enough to take some hard decisions.