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Paid selectors to bat for cricket board

Calcutta, March 26: Sourav Ganguly was in New Delhi today, not as a cover for Virender Sehwag, but to attend a meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)-appointed special committee to recommend optimum utilisation of resources.

The former captain was a special invitee, as also current boss Rahul Dravid. They shook hands before the five-hour session chaired by ex-president Inderjit Singh Bindra, at a leading hotel, but The Telegraph’s sources confirmed there was no one-on-one.

Even if either wanted to chat separately, that got ruled out as Dravid left after three hours to join the Team India nets at the Kotla. Sourav returned to Calcutta in the evening.

“They just engaged in polite conversation. The ‘hello’ and ‘good luck’ type,” a source said. It was their first interaction in almost two months.

Some of the special invitees were absent ' Dilip Vengsarkar, Sachin Tendulkar and Sehwag. Sunil Gavaskar, a committee member, couldn’t attend as he had to be in Melbourne.

The most significant recommendation pertains to the structure of the selection committees.

According to Bindra, the consensus was that selectors “should be on contract” and “must” have a fixed term so that there’s “security of tenure”. The “norms” weren’t listed but left for a larger body to determine.

Contacted in New Delhi, he said: “An agreement was reached on having the best.' Having men of integrity and getting them appointed ' possibly by the president ' rather than selected (by the five zones) as is being done. Of course, we could still have one selector from each zone as India is huge.”

But won’t that continue to encourage zonal bias'

“No, as the selectors will be answerable to the BCCI and not a regional constituency... as they’re going to be on contract, they won’t be concerned with narrow interests,” Bindra replied.

It’s an indictment of everything that has been happening for decades. Significantly, one understands Sourav and Dravid kept away from the discussion specific to the selectors.

As the BCCI’s constitution will have to be amended if the structure is changed, the recommendation is going to be placed before the working committee and, then, the annual general meeting or a special general meeting. It should sail through.

“The current committee, headed by Kiran More, will complete its term (end-September). Nothing is going to be disturbed till then,” Bindra emphasised. The next working committee meeting is in Mumbai on April 9.

For obvious reasons, the modalities have to be “worked out”, as BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said. “At this moment, we can’t say whether only the senior selectors will be paid or even those who sit on the junior committee... Also, whether the state-level selectors are going to be covered'.”

Sehwag, meanwhile, has been declared fit for the first ODI against England.

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