Test opener KL Rahul walked out to bat at number four in India’s first ICC World Cup 2019 match even though the selectors led by MSK Prasad had clearly stated that all-rounder Vijay Shankar was picked for that spot for the showpiece event. After Shikhar Dhawan’s injury, the team management decided to bring Rahul as the opener. And when Shankar was ruled out, they flew in opener Mayank Agarwal to fit into the middle-order. Clearly, Prasad and his team are just faces and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has taken note.
A senior BCCI official said that the selectors must also take responsibility when a team loses a tournament if they deserve a monetary reward when the team does well in a series or tournament. More importantly, accountability is the key.
“When the team wins a tournament, the selectors are given a financial reward for their performance but when the criticism comes after a loss, it is only the players who seem to be criticised. What about the selectors?
“More importantly, what about the chairman of the selection committee? He has been constantly travelling with the team on all tours and surely he must have seen the areas that require attention. The accountability for the number 4 musical chairs must rest with him since he was the one playing the music,” the official said.
Commenting on the selection process from announcing the initial squad to the replacements that were roped in, the official said: “One has been unable to make head or tail of anything. An opener gets injured and you get a middle-order batsman as replacement who should have always been a part of the squad in the first place.
“Then, your middle-order batsman gets injured and you get an opener as replacement. No matter what the team management wants, the decision lies with the selectors. This also leads to a bigger question as to who would judge the performance of the selectors during the period of their contracts.
“Who judges whether they are being influenced by other factors or if two selectors are performing better than the others?”
Sadly, despite their dismal show in one of the most important positions in Indian cricket, the five wise men — Prasad, Devang Gandhi, Gagan Khoda, Jatin Paranjpe and Sarandeep Singh — will continue in their position till the Annual General Meeting of the BCCI is not conducted.
While the Committee of Administrators (CoA) have got into most cricketing matters, like contracts of players among others, it is surprising that when it comes to selectors, they avoid assessing their performance.