The national selection committee led by Chetan Sharma picked India’s squad for the T20 World Cup on Monday, but there was no representation from the West Zone in the panel.
In February this year, Abey Kuruvilla’s tenure as the national selector from the west zone ended, but since then, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) hasn’t appointed a new selector from the zone, despite the Board’s top brass time and again saying that the “process will begin soon…”
After being appointed the national selector in December 2020, Kuruvilla had to relinquish his post earlier this year because as per the Board’s constitution, no person can stay on for more than five years as a member of any cricket committee. Kuruvilla had earlier served as chairman of the junior selection committee for four years, and after his tenure as a national selector ended, he was hired as the BCCI’s general manager (game development).
The national selection panel is supposed to have five members - from north, south, east, west and central zones respectively. Apart from Sharma, Sunil Joshi, Harvinder Singh and Debasish Mohanty are the other members of the current panel.
According to the Board’s constitution, the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) needs to conduct the interviews before appointing the national selectors. Since October last year, the CAC has been short of a member as its head Madan Lal had to step down after he turned 70. In his absence, RP Singh and Sulakshana Naik had to conduct the interviews to appoint Rahul Dravid as the head coach last year. Since then, the CAC has never met, nor has anything been communicated to them in terms of a new appointment process.
Usually, in case of any hirings, the BCCI puts up advertisements on its website, but till the time of publishing this story, there haven’t been any notifications. Insiders in the Board reiterated that the appointment process will begin soon, without specifying a deadline.
The BCCI officials remained tight-lipped when asked why it was taking them so long to appoint a selector from the west zone. In absence of their colleague from the west zone, Sharma and three other selectors had to pick the Indian team for quite a few series - including the home series against Sri Lanka in February and March, tours of England, West Indies and Zimbabwe and of course, the just-concluded Asia Cup.
In the 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup there are five players from the west zone, but the cricketing fraternity believes that with the domestic cricket season underway, it is important for the BCCI to immediately appoint a representative from the west zone to ensure that the performances of the young and deserving cricketers are monitored regularly.