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State minister wants relative as selector

Calcutta: Twenty five days after The Telegraph first reported that former left-arm spinner Arup Bhattacharya’s name was doing the rounds as the national selector from the East and was being backed by influential politicians, state urban development and municipal affairs minister Firhad (Bobby) Hakim has confirmed that he has spoken to Jagmohan Dalmiya on the issue.

“Yes, I have spoken to the CAB president and proposed Arup’s name. He (Arup) has done a lot for Bengal cricket and CAB and deserves the position,” Hakim told a news agency.

Interestingly, Bhattacharya is Hakim’s brother-in-law.

Dalmiya, on his part, didn’t wish to get into the details of his talks with Hakim. “These are early days… The decision will be taken towards the end of this month. I can’t reveal my discussions with him. That’s confidential.”

Asked if this amounted to political interference, Dalmiya said: “Anyone can speak to me… It doesn’t mean that there is political interference.”

The CAB officials are in a tight spot as they are still not sure about how to deal with the Bhattacharya issue.

Former India wicket-keeper and opener Deep Dasgupta is in the reckoning along with Devang Gandhi for the selector’s post. Dasgupta is Bengal’s chief selector while Devang is in charge of the Bengal A side.

Incumbent Raja Venkat has completed his term.

For the record, Bhattacharya has played 48 first-class matches for Bengal.

On the other hand, former Bengal captains Deep and Devang have played eight and four Test matches, respectively.

“There is a lot of political pressure on us to propose Bhattacharya’s name but will the BCCI agree to such a name that doesn’t have much credence?” a senior CAB official asked.

Former India all-rounder Roger Binny is likely to be Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s successor as the selector from South. Both, incidentally, were members of the 1983 World Cup-winning XI.