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For now, Sourav doesn't have to worry about...

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 15.12.05

One of the first moves of the Sharad Pawar regime was to recast the senior national selection committee. Jagmohan Dalmiya sacked Tamil Nadu’s T.A.Sekar after defeating Dr A.C.Muthiah in 2001; Pawar endorsed the removal of three selectors seen as being pro-Sourav Ganguly.

So much for making the Board professional and encouraging transparency. Given the driving force and the wheels within wheels, it’s unlikely that being petty is ever going to change.

Sourav had already been picked in the 15 for the first Test (Chennai), but one didn’t need a soothsayer’s wisdom to appreciate that the going would get tougher.

Even if Pranab Roy and the Sharmas (Yashpal and Gopal) were soft towards Sourav, they’d at least played cricket at the highest level.

Of their replacements, only North’s Bhupinder Singh (Sr) featured in a couple of ODIs, never quite coming into contention for a Test berth.

The other two, Sanjay Jagdale (Central) and East’s Ranjib Biswal, never got beyond the domestic first-class level.

Indeed, even among the old-timers ? West’s Kiran More and V.B.Chandrasekhar (South) ? the former alone has played both Tests and ODIs. Chandrasekhar had seven ordinary appearances in the sport’s chota version.

So, five men with a collective experience of 49 Tests (and 103 ODIs) sat in judgement over Sourav ? somebody with over 15,000 runs in international cricket.

It’s laughable. Regrettable, too.

Incidentally, Dalmiya didn’t score those runs for Sourav.

As More and Co. are going to be around till next September, at least (though the chief selector’s own term has to end then), Sourav must decide whether to continue in a distinctly hostile environment or slam the ‘coffin’ firmly shut.

For now, however, Sourav won’t have to worry about what he says ? and to whom ? in the dressing room or being seen in the company of friends from the Fourth Estate.

Five men with such limited credentials have condemned him, but if the mood across the country (borne out by polls on TV networks) is an indication, the selectors have much to be embarrassed about.

Over a decade ago, More himself grumbled about having been dumped (Nayan Mongia got the call-up) without even a word of gratitude from those who mattered.

It will be interesting knowing exactly what he told Sourav. That’s if the Baroda Cricket Association office-bearer found the time to do so.