Colombo: Most of the six affiliated units of the Board from East are “very unhappy” that the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, appears to be succumbing to pressure from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul.
Indications are that Dalmiya will propose former left-arm spinner Arup Bhattacharya’s name as the next senior national selector from the zone. All because of pressure, admittedly intense, from key persons of the ruling party in the state.
Bhattacharya is related to the urban development and municipal affairs minister Firhad Hakim, who has openly been calling for him to be Raja Venkat’s successor. Like Venkat, he didn’t play at the international level.
As reported in these columns, the pressure on Dalmiya is from the “very top.” Six years ago, he’d resisted Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Now, it does seem he’s reluctant to stand up to the Trinamul.
If Bhattacharya’s name is put forward to the Board, then most of the other affiliates from East are set to propose an alternative.
According to well-placed sources of The Telegraph, former India quick Debashish Mohanty (Orissa) could be their choice.
Another name suddenly doing the rounds is that of Subroto Banerjee, also a former new-ball bowler, who played for India and undivided Bihar. Of late, though, he’s been associated with Vidarbha.
“Look, we may not have an issue if the CAB proposes either Devang Gandhi or Deep Dasgupta... Both are former India cricketers... But if a political nominee is going to be endorsed by Dalmiya, then why not a Mohanty?
“We’re very unhappy with what’s happening in the CAB... There has to be a limit to interference from politicians,” is what one of the well-placed sources, who heads an affiliate, said on Monday evening.
Another agitated supremo expressed exactly the same sentiments.
All six affiliates are scheduled to have an intra-zonal meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday, a day before the Board’s AGM.
If Mohinder Amarnath (North) is replaced, then all five senior national selectors will be new. Roger Binny is going to come in from South, while Abey Kuruvilla (West) and Central’s Sunil Chaturvedi are looking strong.
Technically, Amarnath has three years remaining, but his “independent views” aren’t to the liking of many in the Board. However, he’d been ‘promised’ the chairmanship, 2012-13 onwards, when he came on board last September.
Some of those wanting Amarnath out are critical of his being based in Goa. But, surely, he hasn’t moved there last month. If his place of residence is an issue, then he shouldn’t have been appointed in the first place.
While the affiliates can propose names, the final decision now largely rests with the top two in the Board. From 2008-09, incidentally, the selectors’ honorary status has ended.