Calcutta: The team management’s refusal to drop Mohammed Kaif, despite the middle-order bat failing in every ODI this year, has embarrassed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“It looks bad, yes... But, then, what can we do' The selectors have been retaining Kaif and the team management has been playing him... We can’t dictate to them,” a somewhat exasperated BCCI official told The Telegraph on Thursday.
Talking from his cellphone, he added: “Now, even if somebody wants to make a change, it can’t be done as there won’t be time to organise the Abu Dhabi visa for Kaif’s replacement...”
Breaking with yet another tradition (one which relegated former captain Sourav Ganguly even more to footnote-status), the last full selection meeting saw Kiran More and Co. pick the squad for six ODIs in-a-row: Four against England and two versus Pakistan in the UAE capital.
The ODIs in Abu Dhabi are on April 18, 19.
“Look, even though that decision was taken in Goa (after the third ODI of the ongoing series), the selectors were free to make changes ' and they’ve been doing so... For administrative reasons, however, no more changes are possible now,” the official said.
In nine ODIs this year, Kaif’s scores have been: 8, 5 not out, 0, 0 (in Pakistan); 4, 0, 0, 5, 15 (against England).
Incidentally, the official even took a dig at Virender Sehwag, who hasn’t been doing anything either: “Sehwag has spoken of taking a break (in Saturday’s seventh and final ODI, in Indore)... Actually, he has been on a break throughout this series! His performances suggest that.”
The regular vice-captain, who filled-in for Rahul Dravid in Jamshedpur, hasn’t managed more than 26 in any of the five ODIs played versus England ' the one in Guwahati got abandoned without a ball being bowled. Barring the unbeaten 76 in the second innings in Mohali, he flopped in the three Tests as well.
For the Greg Chappells, it seems, accountability starts and ends with Sourav. So much for what’s being projected as a grand vision and the push towards the next level.