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Wright has the right to say what he has said: V.B. Chandrasekhar

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SHATTERING A MYTH: V.B. Chandrasekhar (left) has revealed that no BCCI member has ever put pressure on the selectors to pick a particular player.
SHATTERING A MYTH: V.B. Chandrasekhar (left) has revealed that no BCCI member has ever put pressure on the selectors to pick a particular player.

S. Dinakar

  • Five-member selection panel is a time-tested one, he says
  • But, the committee chairman should have a casting vote

    CHENNAI: Despite criticism of the selection process by former coach John Wright in his recently released book Indian Summers, the National cricket selector from South Zone, V.B. Chandrasekhar, believes the five-man selection panel is a time-tested method that has produced results.

    In an exclusive interview to The Hindu here on Tuesday, Chandrasekhar shared his views on a variety of issues concerning selection.

    The former India opener holds no grudges against Wright. "He has the right to say what he has said. He has not named anyone and I respect him for that. We had long meetings, but I never had a problem working or interacting with him. There were no major arguments."

    According to him, Wright was good for Indian cricket at that point of time. "His ideas then became stagnated. We needed fresh inputs coming in."

    The coach might not have a vote, but his impression carried a lot of weight.

    And there were times when a coach could be wrong also, he said. "It happened in the case of Wasim Jaffer. We were proposing Jaffer's name and John was not too keen on the opener. This was proved wrong."

    An expressive coach

    Asked to compare Wright and his successor Greg Chappell, he said: "Chappell is a very expressive person. Wright, perhaps, showed the initiative in the first three years. Towards the end, it probably wasn't there. He was a very quiet man. He was a good coach for the bowlers and fielders as well. Chappell's work with the emerging players has been remarkable."

    "Every selection meeting has a few people leaving with the wrong kind of faces. For instance, there were a few fights while choosing between M.S. Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik. Karthik got his opportunity first, then Dhoni came along. I feel sorry for Karthik, but if the person performs extraordinarily well like Dhoni, we must all feel very proud about it."

    The issue of regionalism was being raked up because some thought the selectors were trading internally, he said. "I'm not qualified to say whether this happened earlier. All I can say it is not happening today," he said.

    He cited a case in point when there was a close race between South Zone's S. Badrinath and Central's Tejinder Pal Singh for a place in the India `A' team for the Abu Dhabi tournament this year. "The decision appeared to be in favour of T.P. Singh, when Sanjay Jagdale, the Central Zone selector, said that Badri deserved it more. There was no trading off. To the credit of all, including the coach and the captain, this has completely stopped," he said.

    Queried about pressure being put on a selector to pick a particular cricketer, he replied, "Until today, I have not had any BCCI member giving me a call and telling me `you have to do this.'"

    Given the number of domestic matches, a five-man panel made sense. "We are watching matches far away from our zones, criss-crossing the country."

    Room for improvement

    There was room for improvement, though. "The chairman should have the casting vote and he should be someone with vision. In a three or a five-member panel, if the majority get together, the chairman has no voice. You probably can have a four-member panel with a casting vote to the chairman."

    The State-based rotation policy could also be done away with, he said. "You can have the best man from a particular zone for the job, irrespective of the State, based on the standards required. And if he is doing his job, continue with him as long as you want to."

    On the question of the captain and the coach having a vote in the selection meetings, he said: "I don't think anyone should be given singular powers. We watch more domestic cricket than anybody from the team. In any case, their views carry a lot of weight."

    Chandrasekhar was also of the opinion that the selectors should be compensated for the time they devoted.

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