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Selectors to keep distance
- Heat on Dilip Vengsarkar for syndicated columns
Dilip Vengsarkar

Calcutta: The senior national selectors, who have made it a habit of sitting in the Team India dressing room area (both at home and overseas), will now be asked to park themselves elsewhere.

According to the Board’s chief administrative officer, Ratnakar Shetty, the dressing room is going to be off limits for Dilip Vengsarkar and Co. from the upcoming ODIs and Tests against Pakistan.

The first face-off (a one-dayer) is in Guwahati on November 5.

“The International Cricket Council (ICC), it seems, has sent some communication to the Board secretary (Niranjan Shah) and, so, the selectors won’t be around in that area,” Shetty told The Telegraph on Tuesday evening.

Access to the dressing room area is strictly monitored and the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit keeps a close watch on movements.

The selectors aren’t part of the support staff, but have been gaining entry on the basis of “special passes,” which need to be cleared by the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit representative.

Such passes are usually procured by the manager, but as we don’t have a pro in that position, it’s just not clear who makes the request, especially during the Tests and ODIs at home.

“Look, the manager is the custodian of his team’s dressing room and he should have good reasons for seeking special passes,” pointed out somebody familiar with the security protocol which got introduced some years ago.

Irrespective of what the ICC has communicated, certain players are understood to have told key officials that they aren’t exactly comfortable as the selectors keep bumping into them.

Obviously, the selectors have been adding to the pressure on the players.

Shetty himself said: “Once a match has begun, the selectors don’t have any role to play... It’s not that they’ve got to sit next to the players...”

The Board, meanwhile, may ask selection committee chairman Vengsarkar to stop writing columns syndicated by a management company which handles the commercial interests of quite a few Team India players, including ODI and Twenty20 captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

There’s a definite clash of interest (not to speak of the ethics factor) and the “issue” has already been taken up with Board president Sharad Pawar. According to well-placed sources, it could be “formally” discussed during the office-bearers’ meeting in Mumbai on November 11.

Back in the late 1980s, writing columns landed Vengsarkar in big trouble (as it was a breach of contract) and the Board actually banned him for six months. He was then the India captain.

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