| Ratnakar Shetty
Calcutta: North’s Kirti Azad, a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning XI and a BJP Member of Parliament, appears reasonably placed to be elevated as the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) senior selection committee chairman.
The ‘vacancy’ has surfaced because of Brijesh Patel’s hospitalisation and must be filled during Saturday-Sunday’s AGM here. According to The Telegraph’s sources, he will most probably be replaced either by Syed Kirmani (also from Karnataka) or Tamil Nadu’s V.B. Chandrasekhar.
Till late on Friday, however, a decision had not been taken by South’s representatives. At the moment, Kirmani has the edge.
The outspoken Kirti, of course, has already been a selector for one year. In fact, Brijesh too made the committee during the 2002 AGM.
Pranab Roy (East) and Sanjay Jagdale (Central) are certain to get another year, but there’s uncertainty over West’s Kiran More as a move is afoot to nominate Yajuvendra Singh. More, though, is “confident.” For Jagdale, this will be his fourth and last term.
Brijesh, who underwent a bypass in Bangalore on Monday, remains in the ICCU at the Narayana Hrudalaya — the doctors decided against moving him out as the expected string of visitors will tire him unnecessarily — and, obviously, cannot travel much in the next six-seven weeks.
As is known, that period will see Team India play two Tests and a minimum of six ODIs. Besides, the squad for Australia has to be picked at the end of those six-seven weeks. The BCCI, therefore, needs a chief selector who can criss-cross the country.
To move away from the selection committee, the group-driven BCCI is actually set to take a significant step during this AGM.
Clearly, the unanimous election of Professor Ratnakar Shetty (a chemistry lecturer in Mumbai’s Wilson College) as joint secretary will mark the end — for the time being, at least — of only backing a candidate from one’s own group.
Whatever Prof. Shetty’s equation with Jagmohan Dalmiya, fact is that Mumbai hasn’t been part of the BCCI president’s group. Yet, Dalmiya has risked antagonising some by endorsing the Mumbai joint secretary’s candidature.
Among the ‘losers’ is Dalmiya confidant Goutam Das Gupta. “All along, I’ve maintained I’ll respect what the group decides… That stays unchanged,” he said, sportingly. Still, quite a few feel Dalmiya should either have discouraged Das Gupta at the very start or backed him to the hilt.
To be fair to Dalmiya, he had a tough decision to make.
By the way, accommodating Prof. Shetty signals the mending of fences with the Sharad Pawar-led Mumbai Cricket Association. Prof. Shetty is the joint secretary there as well.
Das Gupta apart, Brijesh and, to a lesser extent, C.K. Khanna, didn’t find the ball rolling their way.
One understands Karnataka chief K.M. Ram Prasad had a two-hour session with Dalmiya on Friday afternoon, but failed to garner his support for Brijesh being the next joint secretary.
Delhi’s Khanna, it is learnt, was off the blocks pretty early, but eventually reconciled to the chair being occupied by Prof. Shetty.
Meanwhile, despite talk that West could propose Baroda president Chirayu Amin’s name as vice-president from that region, it seems Gujarat’s Nar Hari Amin will continue.
The one definite change, among the vice-presidents, concerns East — Assam minister Goutam Roy will replace former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.
However, Messrs Kamal Morarka (Central), Ranbir Singh Mahendra (North) and S. Ranga Reddy (South) are going to stay on.
Among the office-bearers, Dalmiya is just hours away from beginning his third and last year as president, while S.K. Nair will continue as secretary. As for Jyoti Bajpai, the incumbent joint secretary, he will now wear the treasurer’s hat, which is being passed on by Kishore Rungta.
Unless somebody springs a surprise and decides to challenge either Dalmiya or Nair, this AGM will be short on drama and excitement.
Come to think of it, the absence of politicking will allow the officials to focus wholly on cricket. Can’t complain, can we'
The ‘ruling’ group has chosen former India off-spinner and selector Shivlal Yadav as manager for the tour of Australia.