Agarkar bats on tricky zonal pitch
Ajit Agarkar has thrown open the race for the chairman’s post in the senior national selection committee. The general consensus is that the former India all-rounder will pip other contenders like Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Venkatesh Prasad or Rajesh Chauhan on way to being the chief selector.
Prasad is the most experienced having played 33 Tests and 161 ODIs but Agarkar, who has played 26 Tests and 191 ODIs, is believed to enjoy the blessings of the powers-that-be in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The committee has two vacancies with chairman and South Zone representative MSK Prasad and Central’s Gagan Khoda’s terms having already expired. They have been on extension.
Agarkar is from West Zone and though its representative on the committee, Jatin Paranjape, has a year left, the rules don’t specify that every zone shall have only one representative. Paranjape is in New Zealand with Team India and it is unlikely that he will not be allowed to complete his term.
Will an exception be made for Agarkar? Has he applied for the post without any assurances? Such questions have been doing the rounds in the corridors of power in the BCCI since Friday evening. Sources say that the BCCI is unlikely to include someone from outside the zone this time, at least.
“It wouldn’t be fair to include someone from outside his zone. It will only set a bad precedent. The rules may permit but someone someday might be tempted to include three or may be all five from one zone... You also have to keep in mind the equations within the Board,” a source told The Telegraph.
Another influential member pointed out that such practices should be encouraged if we want to include the best in the selection committee. “Nothing of the zonal culture is followed now. Even the appointment of the president is not based on the rotational zonal policy. So why stick to zonal quotas only when it comes to the selection committee,” he asked.
If Agarkar is ruled out, it seems like Chauhan (21 Tests, 35 ODIs) will seal his berth from Central Zone.
The contest from the South is expected to be keen once the BCCI finalises the Cricket Advisory Committee to choose the selectors.
Sivaramakrishnan was seen as the front-runner having enjoyed the backing of an influential BCCI member, but Prasad’s late entry has made the race interesting.
Prasad has been the chairman of the junior selection committee from 2015 to 2018. Those in the know say Prasad can only serve in the senior committee for a year.
If Sivaramakrishnan (9 Tests, 16 ODIs) is chosen, Chauhan could emerge as frontrunner for the chairman’s post since he will be the most experienced.
Despite positive rumours, Agarkar’s chances seem
slim and it will be a toss up between Sivaramakrishnan and Prasad from the South. The chairman’s position will be determined depending on whoever gets picked from there.