Mumbai: “It’s an unhealthy precedent... If the working committee is to give directives, then why have a selection panel'” asked Ajit Wadekar, former India captain, coach and chief selector.
Fuming, he added: “What has happened over the past fortnight is unfortunate... Besides resting Sachin (Tendulkar) and Sourav (Ganguly), what have the selectors done' I’m happy for young Manoj Tewari, but a 30-year-old (Dinesh Mongia) has been recalled when the directive was to pick a young team! It’s beyond me...”
Speaking to The Telegraph on the morning after the selectors did the needful for next month’s tour of Bangladesh, Wadekar said Dilip Vengsarkar and Co. were “expected” to know best and, should things go amiss, they would “face the music” and not the working committee.
“I would have retained both Sachin and Sourav as they add value and, as important, guide the team at a difficult time... I’m surprised they’ve been rested, but (Virender) Sehwag is still in the one-day side... Again, I can’t make anything of that selection...”
The directive didn’t please the selectors, but nobody actually made an issue of it. “We understand it’s a one-off thing, let’s see if there’s a repeat... In any case, it’s the Board which appoints us... I’d rather wait for what happens after Bangladesh,” is how one put it.
After the meeting, though, Board secretary Niranjan Shah gave no assurance that the working committee wouldn’t again intervene. Rather, he pointedly reminded that it was the “supreme body.”
It’s relevant, perhaps, that three of the five selectors have big roles in their respective associations and wouldn’t like to rock the boat: Chairman Vengsarkar is a vice-president of the Mumbai body, Ranjib Biswal heads Orissa and Sanjay Jagdale is the Madhya Pradesh secretary.
Board president Sharad Pawar is also the Mumbai supremo.
Incidentally, Sachin and Sourav weren’t available for a comment. “Sachin’s not feeling well,” informed wife Anjali rather early in the day, while Sourav’s mobiles kept ringing.
After the recent showcauses, both may not utter a word. Big Brother, after all, could be around with a bigger and sharper axe.