Agarkar: 'Players were omitted due to attitude and discipline issues'

Ajit Agarkar, chairman of the selection panel, has broken his silence over the controversy, citing “attitude and discipline” issues with a group of cricketers for omitting them from the list of probables.

Ajit Agarkar: 'It’s not possible for us to pick players who are not part of the initial list and include them during the season if we haven’t watched them. If we don’t watch players, we won’t be able pick the right ones.'   -  R. V. Moorthy

With the head coach appointment for the senior team having been delayed till mid-July and the start of the inter-State cricket season advanced to September, the last thing Mumbai cricket wanted at the start of the season was a selection-related controversy. The probables’ list, released last month, not only made many players and coaches unhappy, but also forced a club representative to make a representation to the Bombay High Court-appointed Committee of Administrators to sack the selection committee.

Ajit Agarkar, chairman of the selection panel, has broken his silence over the controversy, citing “attitude and discipline” issues with a group of cricketers for omitting them from the list of probables. Seven of them, including Shubham Ranjane and Aditya Dhumal, were added to the list last week after the BCCI announced that the season will start with the one-day competition next month.

“We wanted to send a message to some of the youngsters at the start of the season that attitude and discipline are as important as performances, and the lack of it that had been reported during the last season and the off-season camp in April-May needed to be addressed,” Agarkar told Sportstar on Monday. c

After the list raised eyebrows in the maidans, Parsee Gymkhana Khodadad Yazdegardi, with support from 39 members of the MCA, requested the CoA to call for a special general body meeting for removing the selectors. A group of club representatives accused the selection committee members of not watching local matches. It led to some of the former cricketers, including former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, criticising the selectors.

Refuting the charge

Agarkar strongly refuted the charge. “It’s not possible for us to pick players who are not part of the initial list and include them during the season if we haven’t watched them. If we don’t watch players, we won’t be able pick the right ones,” he said.

“I don’t know in what context he (Vengsarkar) said what was attributed to him. But all I would say is I have been a player, I have been a captain and before all of us accepted the role of a selector, each of us realises that selection or non-selection has a huge impact on a player’s career and mental state. We know it’s a huge responsibility and we are acting responsibly.”