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Updated: September 15, 2011 09:55 IST

What matters is the selection process

Makarand Waingankar
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Makarand Waingankar.
The Hindu Makarand Waingankar.

BCCI's annual general body meeting which will be held on September 19 and 20 in Mumbai is expected to deliberate on various issues.

That intense politicking takes place a day before and during the meeting is common knowledge.

In the 1985 AGM held in Bangalore, former BCCI President Fathesinhrao Gaekwad hastily walked towards the waiting journalists and said: “Come on let's have tea. Except cricket everything else is being discussed inside.”

That was the time members were busy replacing the President of the BCCI Sheshrao Wankhede with N.K.P. Salve when Wankhede was in hospital and had not even completed his term.

Things have improved. Group politics is non-existent. The standard of the game has improved, but IPL is turning out to be a big headache for the BCCI.

To an average cricket lover what matters is the selection process. In a country as big as ours, picking the right team is always a gamble. That it paid off until the England series is to the credit of Dhoni and his boys.

But the selectors didn't plan to bolster the bench strength and when the experienced players got injured, India was seen struggling.

Good luck

It is here that the selection process and the foresight of the selectors are being questioned. It was purely a long stroke of good luck that hardly anyone was on the injured list for the past one year.

That helped the team combine well and implement the strategy effectively.

As things went along smoothly, the selection committee, prodded by the team's performance, completely ignored one basic step — building the bench strength.

There were inconsistent policies when picking fast bowlers. Within one year Abhimanyu Mithun, Jaydev Unadkat and Umesh Yadav were discarded. If the selectors are looking at R. Ashwin as Harbhajan's replacement in future, he ought to be in every team and not just the ODI squad.

The BCCI should perhaps think of doing away with a zonal system because that has been the bane of Indian cricket. The pattern of quota system still exists.

The zonal system of selectors was introduced in the sixties to choose the zone teams. The politics that the zonal selectors played was appalling.

After the 1974 tour of England the West Zone selectors not only forced India captain Ajit Wadekar to announce retirement but dropped India openers Sunil Gavaskar and Ashok Mankad and replaced them with Madhu Gupte (Maharashtra) and Niranjan Mehta (Gujarat) in the final of the Duleep Trophy against a strong South Zone team. Apparently the representatives of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Saurashtra got together and in no time Polly Umrigar and Mamasaheb Ghorpade found themselves in the minority.

Ideally the national selection committee must have members who have played enough Test cricket.

Experience helps

Experience helps in gauging true potential, which is so vital if the team needs to build a strong base for the future.

A selection committee of Dilip Vengsarkar (his selection committee had appointed Dhoni as captain), Mohinder Amarnath, Roger Binny and Sanjay Manjrekar is likely to pick suitable players mainly because the international cricket experience they possess will come to their aid.

The Indian team has selected itself so far. But henceforth the selectors will have to pick players of top quality and provide enough exposure.

Only that will make them perform consistently at the international level. We need a selection committee of experts who dare to challenge the status quo.

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