Former captain Sourav Ganguly has expressed reservations over the national selectors’ decision to name Ajinkya Rahane as vice-captain for the upcoming two-Test tour of the West Indies, but concerns over Rohit Sharma’s fitness and lack of options had contributed to the Mumbai batter’s promotion.
Rohit’s fitness has remained a matter of debate and the Shiv Sundar Das-led four-member committee thought it was wise to have an experienced hand in Rahane as deputy in case the regular captain turns up unfit on the morning of the match.
The selectors hadn’t named a vice-captain for the World Test Championship final at The Oval.
Sourav said he failed to understand the logic behind the decision. “I won’t say it’s a step backward. You have been out for 18 months, then you play a Test and you become a vice-captain. I don’t understand the thought process behind it. There is Ravindra Jadeja, who has been there for a long time and a certainty in Test matches, he is a candidate.
“....but to just come back and straightway become vice-captain after 18 months, I don’t understand. My only thing is that selection shouldn’t be hot and cold. There has to be continuity and consistency in selection,” Sourav was quoted as saying by PTI.
Sources told The Telegraph that Rahane is a “stop-gap arrangement” and will not continue if KL Rahul is available for India’s next Test series, in South Africa in December. The fact that neither Rahul nor Jasprit Bumrah was available in the West Indies because of surgeries led to Rahane getting the nod. The selectors deemed it was necessary to name a vice-captain because of the time difference.
Rohit’s fitness has been a frequently discussed topic though it is learnt he has told the selectors that he will be available for the entire tour. However, the naming of Rahane as vice-captain shows that the selectors wanted to have a stand-by option.
The Team India captain has so far missed three Tests — the unfinished match of the series in Birmingham and the two Tests in Bangladesh — since assuming full-time charge in February 2022.
Ravichandran Ashwin could have been an option but Rahane’s success as a stand-in captain in Australia in 2021-22 worked in his favour. Rahane had led the team to a 2-1 series victory after India had lost the first Test under Virat Kohli. Shubman Gill was considered “too inexperienced”.
Even Kapil Dev had cast doubts on Rohit’s fitness during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year and insisted that the captain needed to “put in some hard work.”
Calcutta: Ajit Agarkar has emerged as a front-runner for chief selector for the senior men’s team after IPL franchise Delhi Capitals announced on social media on Thursday that he would not be retained as part of their support staff for the forthcoming season.
It’s still not clear if the former India all-rounder had applied for the coveted position, the deadline for which will end on Friday.
The post fell vacant after Chetan Sharma resigned following a sting operation in February. Chetan belonged to North Zone but zonal representation isn’t considered necessary according to the BCCI constitution.
The BCCI might have to increase the annual remuneration of Rs 1 crore offered to the chairman of selectors since Agarkar may not be willing to work for that sum.
He is believed to earn several times more as a commentator and the BCCI may have to review the existing pay structure in such circumstances.