Sports

Most capped Test player to become chief selector: Sourav Ganguly

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday appointed a three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising former cricketers Madan Lal, RP Singh and Sulakshana Naik. The CAC will conduct interviews to fill the two vacancies in the national selection committee. Current chief selector MSK Prasad’s term expired last September but has been asked to continue till the process of finding his replacement is complete. Gagan Khoda is the other outgoing selector.

In a significant clarification with regards to next chairman of selectors, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly told Hindustan Times that in a committee of five, the most capped Test cricketer, and not the earliest to have played for India, would be the chairman. “It will be the one with the most Tests,” he said.

There has been some confusion since a specific clause of the BCCI constitution says ‘the senior most Test cap from among the members of the committee shall be appointed the chairman’. A number of ex-cricketers like Ajit Agarkar, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Venkatesh Prasad, Rajesh Chauhan, Nayan Mongia, Chetan Chauhan, Nikhil Chopra, Abey Kuruvilla have applied.

If Sivaramakrishnan, with nine Test caps, was shortlisted, would he become an automatic choice, as he is the ‘senior most’, having debuted for India in 1983? Ganguly’s clarification however means Prasad (33 Tests) and Agarkar (26 Tests) stand an equal chance if shortlisted. Prasad has already served in the junior selection committee for one-and-a-half year and there is a legal view that he is not eligible to serve a full four-year term as per the constitution.

As reported earlier, the other area of ambiguity remains on whether the BCCI is ready to look beyond zonal considerations in the make-up of the selection committee. For example, Jatin Paranjpe is already a selector from West Zone. Would that mean Agarkar, from Mumbai, stands no chance? “No, we shall see. India is a vast country, so we will try and keep zones in mind. But everyone who has applied and meets the given criteria, stands a chance,” a BCCI source said.

The appointments have to be made by the CAC, which has been mandated to do the job as per the new BCCI constitution. The CAC, which has been given a one-year term, has no chairman, but 1983 World Cup winner Madan Lal is the senior-most member. Lal, 68, has played 39 Tests and 67 ODIs from 1974 to 1987. He was also India coach in 1996-97, and subsequently served in the selection committee in 2000-01. “I have served in various capacities for Indian cricket and most importantly I am still involved with the game. We will look to do an honest job,” he said.

Singh, the other member of the committee, has played 14 Tests, 58 ODIs and 10 T20Is for India, and was a part of MS Dhoni’s 2007 T20 World Cup winning team. Naik, the only women’s cricketer in the committee, has played two Tests, 46 ODIs, and 31 T20Is from 2002 to 2012. “I would like to thank all the office bearers of BCCI to show confidence in me and I will be very happy to contribute for Indian cricket,” she said.

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