Four of the five selectors picked at the 83rd Annual General Meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at Mumbai’s Cricket Centre were not on the list of recommended candidates from their zones. The most notable among those was India’s 1983 World Cup-winning squad vice-captain Mohinder Amarnath, who was replaced after having served only for a year in a four-year term. “We wanted a new-look selection committee and so we picked all fresh faces,” Board president N Srinivasan told the media.
According to sources, it was the president himself, who took the call after the zones were engaged in bitter battles. “There was no consensus before the AGM. Delhi wasn’t in favour of Amarnath continuing in the selection panel. Instead, they placed Chetan Chauhan’s name while Punjab recommended former India opener Vikram Rathour. The president then picked Rathour,” a top Board official told MiD DAY yesterday.
Srinivasan had his way with East, West and Central zones too. Deep Dasgupta and Devang Gandhi were proposed by Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) while Orissa Cricket Association wanted Debasis Mohanty, but Srinivasan decided to draft in former India stumper Saba Karim, according to the official.
Even after the president picked Karim, there was another round of drama. Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) objected to Karim’s candidature while CAB supported it. “With support from other units, Karim was inducted. Interestingly, he will be representing CAB,” added the official. CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said: “Saba is a good choice and he is represe ting CAB, not JSCA. We had no objection when the BCCI president proposed Saba’s name. Bihar is his birthplace, but he is also a former Bengal captain.”
However, when everyone was set to welcome Mumbai’s Abey Kuruvilla in the senior panel, Karsan Ghavri’s name cropped up, courtesy Saurashtra Cricket Association. This led to confusion so the president decided to scratch out both names and picked current National Cricket Academy director and former India batsman, Sandeep Patil.
Central Zone also saw similar turn of events with Rajinder Singh Hans eventually being the beneficiary. Only South Zone got what they wanted. It was decided well ahead of the AGM that Roger Binny would replace Krishnamachari Srikkanth in the selection panel and that was done without any drama.
The sacking of Amarnath kicked off a storm in the North Zone with Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association representative Aslam Goni clearly showing his discontent following the removal of the India’s 1983 World Cup hero.
“We were not consulted before this decision. The call to remove a cricketer of Amarnath’s stature after just one year is shameful. He was simply dropped,” said Goni.