Move-on time for Mumbai cricket

Sandeep Patil’s resignation as chairman of Mumbai Cricket Association’s senior selection panel came as a surprise considering that the former Indian batsman and current chief national selector quit for the second time in two years.

While it is unfortunate that the panel loses a high-profile personality, on the flip side, it is time to move on and chart out plans for the next season.

There have been more than just a few examples of debatable selections but the selectors were confronted with a massive task this season considering there were injuries to key players and short of experienced campaigners to take up the leadership role.

Even in these professional days, the job of a selector is very much a thankless one. Mumbai has endured a season of adversity, no matter how good a semi-final entry in the Ranji Trophy looks on paper.

Presumably, there will be a degree of lobbying among the influential administrators of the MCA before the chairman of the committee is picked, but on sheer experience, Milind Rege, who is part of the current panel, deserves to be in the big seat. Apart from being a former Mumbai captain and an all-rounder of repute, Rege has been part of Mumbai cricket for several decades. In fact, it is surprising that a man of his experience was never recommended by the MCA to be a national selector.

Mumbai man Patil’s absence now will also probably make it easier for more Mumbai players to be picked for India and India ‘A’ teams. For example, Shreyas Iyer, Mumbai’s batting find of the season (809 runs in 10 games at 75.89) did not get picked in the Rest of India team for the recent Irani Trophy probably because it would have been awkward for Patil to push for two players in the squad which faced Ranji Trophy champions in Bangalore recently. Mumbai’s sole representative in that Rest of India team was Shardul Thakur, who claimed 48 Ranji wickets in 10 matches.

As Patil said in an interview to this newspaper yesterday, the MCA should appoint selectors who are available full-time to watch matches in all formats and at all levels. Patil won’t look back at his Mumbai selectorial stint with great satisfaction but this is no time to look back.

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