In a surprise move, the Cricket Board today appointed former Test batsman Sandeep Patil as the chairman of the totally new-look senior selection committee while showing the exit door to Mohinder Amarnath, who was eligible to be reappointed.
The 56-year-old Patil's appointment to the hot seat by replacing another dashing batsman Krish Srikkanth came as bolt from the blue, as his name was not even being talked about as a possible candidate prior to the Board's 83rd Annual General Meeting, which finalised the panel here.
Roger Binny (South), Vikram Rathour (North), Saba Karim (East) and Rajinder Singh Hans (Central) comprise the rest of the new panel which had no place for Amarnath, the man of the match in the 1983 World Cup final which India won to create history. Amarnath has been dropped after just one year in his job.
Sandeep Patil is the new chief selector.
Not willing to spell out the reason for the ouster of Amarnath, Board president N Srinivasan said the decision not to reappoint him cannot be discussed in public and added that the Board members wanted a new-look committee. "The term of the selectors is for a maximum of four years but they have to be elected annually. It's the decision of the BCCI. One cannot go into the reasons (for not reappointing Amarnath). It's not a subject for public debate," Srinivasan told a press conference after the AGM.
"But the fact is I think BCCI wanted, if possible, a new look selection committee and that's what we have. The issue is not what is the credential of a X or Y. Basically it's a one year term extended upto a maximum of four years. It's not a fixed four-year term. The selectors are elected annually. But they can be there for a maximum of four terms. The selection committee is appointed by the Board and there is a process of consultation.
"The process has been going on for quite some time and not just today morning. It's only that the final list was published today. There has been extensive consultation among Board members for some time. The office bearers are in touch with all the constituents). There are only 30 members in the Board," Srinivasan explained.
According to sources, three units of North were against Amarnath's re-appointment and his ejection was not unexpected. But the major surprises were the inclusion of Patil instead of fellow-Mumbai player Abey Kuruvilla and Syed Saba Karim from East, when their names was not among the players being talked about, and to a lesser extent Hans, the former UP left-arm spinner with a unique action that puzzled the batsmen.
Srinivasan said Patil fits the bill as the new chairman and the Board wanted a man of stature to occupy the slot vacated by Srikkanth. "It was the opinion of the Board that the previous selection committee did a very good job during their tenure (in which) India won the World Cup. We also wanted a person of sufficient stature to be the chairman and Sandeep Patil fits the bill. No one can question his credentials," he said.
Patil, a dashing batsman in his prime, played 29 Tests and 45 ODIs for India, scoring 1,588 and 1,005 runs in the respective formats. Post-retirement, Patil became the India 'A' coach before being at the helm of the senior team. He later served as coach of the Kenyan national team as well.
Board president N Srinivasan.
Patil, in fact, ended up rubbing BCCI the wrong way when he served as one of the coaches in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League. He cut ties with the rebel league in 2009.
BCCI's previous selection panel comprised Srikkanth, Amarnath, Narendra Hirwani (Central Zone), Surendra Bhave (West Zone) and Raja Venkat (East Zone). Amarnath had replaced Yashpal Sharma last year.
Former India stumper Chandrakant Pandit was named chairman of the junior selection committee and Srinivasan said the former cricketer has to quit his job as a coaching director of the Rajasthan Cricket Association.
The appointment of the two selection panels put an end to the intense speculation in the media on who would succeed Srikkanth and the other selectors, four of who completed their tenure of four years. While Binny's name was doing the rounds as the next chairman, it was Patil, currently the National Cricket Academy Director, who was given the responsibility. The new man to replace Patil will be decided later, Srinivasan said.
There is speculation that former stumper Kiran More, who has rejoined the BCCI from the ICL fold, will be given the job. In another significant change, former skipper Anil Kumble has replaced his predecessor Sourav Ganguly as the head of the BCCI's technical committee.