The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Is it a crime to back the captain'’
- Sehwag-confirmation upsets BCCI, but Vengsarkar asks...

Calcutta: It’s hardly a state secret that Virender Sehwag made the World Cup squad only because captain Rahul Dravid wanted him. So, nobody really ought to take umbrage if selection committee chairman Dilip Vengsarkar confirms that in a TV interview.

The squad was selected in Mumbai on February 12 and The Telegraph’s own report had begun in the following manner: “Virender Sehwag has to thank captain Rahul Dravid for ensuring he boards Team India’s West Indies-bound flight in the early hours of March 1...”

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president Rajeev Shukla, though, has taken exception. That, apparently, is the Establishment’s reaction as well. Strange, for it’s better to have an honest chief selector instead of one who schemes behind-the-scenes and misleads in public.

“The chairman of the selection committee should not make such a remark. It creates an unnecessary controversy before the World Cup,” is what Shukla (a Congress member of the Rajya Sabha) said on Saturday.

One understands BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah may “caution” Vengsarkar and ask him not to reveal anything which is supposed to be “confidential.”

However, no such call had been made by the time we contacted Vengsarkar on Sunday afternoon. The former captain was reluctant to speak, but did raise a pertinent point: “Is it a crime to back the captain' If the chief selector won’t do so at selection committee meetings, then who will'”

Vengsarkar refused to add a word, insisting he didn’t want to “get caught” in a controversy with the World Cup just days away.

Significantly, the public still doesn’t know that when coach Greg Chappell seemed to “question” Sehwag’s attitude at that selection meeting, Vengsarkar (according to well-placed sources) advised him to “make an effort and sort things out” in the dressing room.

In other words, Vengsarkar’s approach is constructive. Of course, unlike some predecessors, he’s straight-forward. We need more of his ilk.

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