As much as it was the first selection committee meeting to plan the long series lying ahead of India’s Test team it was also a farewell meeting for Sandeep Patil and Co. With Patil, Saba Karim and Vikram Rathour having served the maximum of four years allowed to be a national selector, they will bid adieu to the role of a selector.
Naturally, the tone of the media interaction that followed was also mixed, with Patil responding to queries about his tenure as well as the squad for the New Zealand series.
Patil, a swashbuckling batsman during his time as a player, minced no word in spelling out the difficulties of being a selector. “We finish our term, very happy to finish on a positive and happy note… I am very happy with the result we have achieved. The only sad thing is you lose friends when you become a selector, but that is part and parcel of the game,” Patil said.
“I hope and I wish the BCCI and Indian team achieve greater heights and I also wish all the best to the next selection committee.”
Patil’s four-year term as chief selector saw India performing inconsistently. It also saw Sachin Tendulkar’s inevitable exit from the playing field and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s retirement from Test cricket.
While Patil deflected a query about whether he actually had to tell Tendulkar to hang up the boots, as was widely reported in sections of the media in 2013, like a pro, he did hint at dealing with the senior players being the toughest part of his role.
“We have taken some tough calls looking into the future of Indian cricket. It becomes difficult when you sit in the selection committee and when you discuss seniors and the form and fitness but we have taken some good decisions, tough decisions which have done well,” he said. “Today when we look at the Indian team, I feel really proud, of me and my colleagues, and the decisions we took.”Age cap for selectors
While inviting applications for prospective selectors, the BCCI on Saturday has put an age cap of 60 for aspiring selectors. BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke explained the rationale behind the move.
“The real reason is that people who are today over 60 or 65 have not really witnessed too much of the shorter format of the game. Let’s say someone who is 65 or 67 today, he will not have seen any T20 in his playing days and a very little amount of one-dayers. Going forward, with cricket having come to three formats, that is where that has come from,” Shirke said.
The BCCI secretary also added that the decision to invite applications stemmed from the need to have a pool to choose from rather than “we deciding amongst ourselves”.