Sunil Joshi named chief selector, Harvinder Singh added to panel

Former internationals Sunil Joshi and Harvinder Singh are the candidates recommended by the CAC to replace Prasad and Khoda in the senior selection committee.

Sunil Joshi earlier worked with Bangladesh as spin bowling coach.   -  FILE PHOTO/V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

 

Sunil Joshi, the former left-arm spinner, and his contemporary pacer Harvinder Singh emerged as dark horses in the race for the two vacant national selectors’ posts. While Joshi, on the basis being the most-capped Test cricketer, will chair the five-member panel in place of M.S.K. Prasad, Harvinder comes in for Gagan Khoda.

Joshi and Harvinder’s appointment was announced by the BCCI secretary Jay Shah in a statement after the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) interviewed five shortlisted candidates at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai on Wednesday. The other candidates who appeared in person were L. Sivaramakrishnan, Venkatesh Prasad and Rajesh Chauhan.

The rejigged selection panel’s first task will be to pick India’s squad for three ODIs at home against South Africa, starting March 12. Sportstar understands that the selection committee meeting is likely to be convened on Friday.

READ| What was CAC's common question during selectors' interview?

CAC chief Madal Lal clarified that out of the 40-plus candidates who had applied for the two posts, “we only considered those guys – one from South and one from Centre”, in a way confirming that the BCCI office-bearers wanted to stick to the zonal policy.

The BCCI statement also confirmed that Joshi and Harvinder have been offered “one-year” contract which will be reviewed by CAC, while the others in the selection committee will be replaced “later this year” since their tenure is expiring in September.

Rudra Pratap Singh, Lal’s colleague in the CAC along with Sulakshana Naik, said, “Those who played Test matches were given priority.”

Besides his glorious two-decade stint in domestic cricket for Karnataka, Joshi’s 15 Test and 69 ODI caps are more than those combined of his four colleagues in the panel. Harvinder (3 Tests, 16 ODIs), Jatin Paranjape (4 ODIs), Sarandeep Singh (3 Tests, 5 ODIs) and Devang Gandhi (4 Tests, 3 ODIs) have a combined tally of 14 Tests and 28 ODIs.

The previous selection panel was criticised, even by the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, for lacking the stature to stand up to the India team management.

Lal did his best to dodge a query on whether the team management was consulted before finalising the selectors’ names. “I would put it in a different way. We are a team and unless you come on the same page, you cannot communicate among yourselves. It is all about Indian cricket and not about A, B or C. So we asked them questions on which these two were brilliant,” he said.

While Lal stressed that neither president nor secretary interfered in the selection process, we understand that Joshi emerged as a dark horse once the BCCI office-bearers were a divided lot on the other two candidates from South zone. And Harvinder pipped Chauhan following a recommendation by a former influential BCCI office-bearer.

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