| Roger Binny |
Calcutta: Nobody has gone on record, but four of the six affiliates of the Board from East — Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha and Tripura — are strongly in favour of former India opener Devang Gandhi succeeding Raja Venkat as the senior national selector from the zone.
The other two affiliates, Bengal and the National Cricket Club, are in a fix owing to “intense pressure” from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul, which wants former left-arm spinner Arup Bhattacharya, who didn’t play for India, in that position.
Bhattacharya is related to Firhad Hakim, one of the more influential ministers in Mamata’s government.
While the Board president and secretary, in this case Narayanswamy Srinivasan and Sanjay Jagdale, respectively, will have the final say, it’s going to be difficult for them to ignore the majority view in East.
Given the often strange functioning of the Board, absolutely nothing can be taken for granted, but The Telegraph’s sources regard Devang as the “frontrunner.”
The irony is that Devang, the Bengal A coach, may not be endorsed by his own state! Only because the once all-powerful Jagmohan Dalmiya doesn’t wish to antagonise the Trinamul.
Former India ’keeper Deep Dasgupta seems to have lost out as he’s employed by Sahara and not everyone in the Board is comfortable with that association.
An intra-zonal meeting was scheduled for 8.00pm on Wednesday, but got deferred till 11.00am on Thursday, around a hour before the Board’s AGM.
It’s not official, but one learns that Mohinder Amarnath (North) is being replaced by Punjab’s Vikram Rathour. If that actually does happen, then Karnataka’s Roger Binny (South) will be the new selection committee chairman.
Amarnath came on board last year and an “assurance” was given that he’d become the chairman once Krish Srikkanth’s term finished.
Twelve months on, everything points to things having gone horribly wrong between the Board and Amarnath, who has his own mind and is clear about how he wants to function.
The remaining two selectors should be Mumbai’s Abey Kuruvilla (West) and UP’s Sunil Chaturvedi (Central).
Apparently, Gyanendra Pandey and Rajinder Singh Hans were lobbying rather hard, but Chaturvedi, a former ’keeper, seems to have scored more with the men who matter.
The handsomely paying appointments are going to be known shortly after lunch on Thursday. Overnight, some will be keeping fingers crossed.
Roger Binny (chairman, South)
Vikram Rathour (North)
Devang Gandhi (East)
Abey Kuruvilla (West)
Sunil Chaturvedi (Central)