The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Patel: Today, selectors are either office-bearers or simply bearers

Calcutta: Brijesh Patel not only lost the Board joint-secretary’s election, but got removed as the National Cricket Academy director.

The one-time dashing middle-order batsman (who played 21 Tests and 10 ODIs in the Seventies), though, is intent on again calling for a “restructuring” of both the senior and junior national selection committees.

“It’s a pity that Karnataka’s proposal of doing away with the zonal system and pruning the committees from five to three wasn’t discussed when the Board’s AGM was reconvened.

“Sadly, the proposal didn’t even make the agenda of the first working committee meeting (in Mumbai, on December 4) called by the new dispensation,” Patel told The Telegraph.

Speaking from Bangalore, on Saturday evening, he added: “As I’ve said, we want people of stature to serve as selectors and, if necessary, they should be paid. After all, we would like accountab- ility. No regional bias, either.”

Patel is of the view that the senior selectors must at least have played “20 Tests.” If the current committee is weighed on that scale, chief selector Kiran More alone would survive.

More and his colleagues (V.B.Chandrasekhar, Bhupinder Singh (Sr), Sanjay Jagdale and Ranjib Biswal) have come under the scanner after the national uproar-triggering ouster of Sourav Ganguly.

Patel, incidentally, is the Karnataka State Cricket Association secretary and was the chief selector when Team India made the 2003 World Cup final.

But shouldn’t office-bearers of state associations ' even if they are “people of stature” ' be barred from becoming selectors'

“Your point has merit' Yes, to eliminate the vote-element we can do without office-bearers doubling-up as selectors' If one is calling for a change, let it be total,” Patel responded.

That’s a bold position, given he himself wore two caps not too long ago.

Significantly, three of the five senior selection committee members ' More (West), Central’s Jagdale and Biswal (East) ' are office-bearers of state associations.

Laughing, Patel commented: “Today, selectors are either office-bearers or simply bearers! Reason enough to restructure the committees'”

If Sharad Pawar is serious about making the Board professional, then having “people of stature” as selectors is as (if not more) important as looking to appoint a CEO.

There wouldn’t have been an uproar if, for example, a committee headed by Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi had dumped Sourav.

Credibility, after all.

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