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Conflict riddle for selection panel

Dilip Vengsarkar could make his way back into the selection committee

By Indranil Majumdar in Mumbai
  • Published 3.12.19, 2:17 AM
  • Updated 3.12.19, 2:17 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Dilip Vengsarkar Telegraph file picture

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been groping in the dark over the contentious conflict of interest clause and the immediate fallout has been the lack of transparency in the composition of the Cricket Advisory Committee, which in turn chooses the selection committee.

At the annual general meeting of the BCCI on Sunday, it was more or less decided that the tenure of the selection committee would be scaled down to four years instead of five as mentioned in the constitution. That will mean the end of the road

for current chairman MSK Prasad and his colleague Gagan Khoda, who were appointed in 2015.

Devang Gandhi, Sarandeep Singh and Jatin Paranjpe, who were all appointed in 2016, will, technically, still be left with a year each of their tenure but it remains to be seen if the Sourav Ganguly-led BCCI decides to bring in new faces in their place.

It’s still not clear who will head the selection committee but there is a strong chance that Dilip Vengsarkar could make his way back into the fold. The former India captain performed the role of chief selector from 2006 to 2008 before being replaced by Krishnamachari Srikkanth.

Vengsarkar, who has a penchant for identifying talent, has his backers. Having appointed Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captain and thrust a young Virat Kohli into the senior India fold, he is not averse to taking strong decisions when the need arises.

Making Vengsarkar, who played 116 Tests and 129 ODIs, the chairman could also silence the Doubting Thomases who feel the current set of selectors are short on “experience and quality”.

“You need to raise the remuneration of the selectors manifold if you are to rope in big names like Anil Kumble and Virender Sehwag. They have several commitments and won’t sacrifice financially to be a selector,” an influential office-bearer told The Telegraph.

“Don’t forget Vengsarkar is also among the fittest. He has an eye for identifying talent and had done a superb job as chairman of the Talent Resource Development Wing. Hence he is an ideal choice if he agrees and doesn’t come under the conflict clause.”

While the senior selectors get Rs 90 lakh per annum, the chairman receives Rs 1 crore annually.

Vengsarkar’s appointment though will mean the end of the road for Paranjpe, who too is from the West Zone. Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer Khan’s names have also been doing the rounds.

Sourav was non-committal on the composition of the selection panel.

“It (selection committee) does not need appointment every year, their term is five years, they can stay for five years, but what we will do is that we will fix a term for selectors and appoint them, but not every year. It is not right to appoint selectors every year,” the BCCI president said after the AGM at the Cricket Centre.

“(Their) tenures are finished (MSK and Khoda). You cannot go beyond your tenure and all of them don’t finish, so majority of them stay and I think it should not be a problem. As you must have heard, ICC now wants tournaments every year, that does not mean selectors continue forever. We will have a tenure and we will (heed) to the tenure.”

Enjoying strong backing, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan could be the South Zone’s representative on the committee. From Central Zone, Gyanendra Pandey or Amay Khurasia stand a good chance though Mohammed Kaif could be the dark horse.

If Devang doesn’t get to finish his tenure, Deep Dasgupta will be the likely choice.

It is also possible that the current dispensation at the BCCI wouldn’t follow the zone-wise selection policy as has been the norm so far.

But all such combinations will also depend on how the Supreme Court interprets the conflict of interest clause.