Who will land the vacant BCCI selectors' job?

The BCCI is likely to forward the names of the shortlisted candidates to the CAC after the apex council meeting in New Delhi on Sunday.

The outgoing chief selector M.S.K Prasad having a chat with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ravi Shastri.   -  AP Photo

Former India coach John Wright will be a happy man if the BCCI decides not to follow the age-old zonal system while picking candidates for the selector job at the end of February. The New Zealander, in his book Indian Summers, had criticised the system back in 2007 for nepotism. He felt the selectors, at times, were under pressure to push players from their respective zones.

The departure of M.S.K. Prasad (South Zone) and Gagan Khoda (Central Zone) has led to two vacancies.

Amid the ambiguity whether the newly-picked Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) — comprising former players Madan Lal, R.P. Singh and Sulakshana Naik — will retain the old practice, two former BCCI selectors have batted for ‘integrity’ over tradition.

Read: M.S.K. Prasad reveals how player selection is done

Former India international Ashok Malhotra, who served as selector in the past, appreciated the board’s idea of throwing an advertisement for the positions. “If you have made a professional setup, you advertise for the selector post. Like you select the coach, select the selector. It still can be from respective zones but I think the zonal bias should not be there.

“Whoever is the selector, they try to have the best for the Indian team and Indian cricket. I don’t mind having a neutral selection committee as it is a professional outfit now. But please don’t have a selection committee with five to 10 Test matches among them; that doesn’t do justice to a selector’s job,” he told Sportstar.

BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly had earlier indicated that the candidate with most Test caps will land the chairman role; former India wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia (44 Tests) tops the list among the applicants. There are two other favourites, Venkatesh Prasad (33 Tests) and Ajit Agarkar (26 Tests).

But Agarkar and Mongia’s entry into the panel will mean three selectors from the West Zone as Jatin Paranjpe is already in the mix. Prasad, on the other hand, has served as junior selector in the past and as per the board constitution, he may not be eligible for a full four-year term. Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, the senior-most in the list, has only played nine Tests.

Malhotra also pointed at the Conflict of Interest issue that will eventually narrow down the list of applicants. “Not many people can join; Sachin [Tendulkar], Sourav, V.V.S. [Laxman], Anshuman [Gaekwad] - all of them have faced the issue in the past.”

Neutral point of view

Sanjay Jagdale did not represent India. He was a domestic cricketer but renowned for his stint as BCCI selector. The 69-year-old had spotted talents such as Narendra Hirwani, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Murali Kartik and V.V.S. Laxman to name a few.

He believes the BCCI can continue with the same format unless there are options that will force the board to be a little flexible. “If you have people with integrity, then it is different. It depends on the availability of the people,” he said.

Jagdale batted for an “independent” selector. “Somebody who will not be influenced by those in power. You must have people who don’t give weightage to outside sources and do their job in their own way. I never felt any pressure when I was selector. If people can handle pressure from other state associations, then it will be fine,” he said.

New selectors will be appointed by the end of month: Sourav Ganguly

He also doesn’t believe that a selector with most Test caps — as player — will stand out in the job. “We have had outstanding selectors who did not play many Test matches. There were people like Raj Singh Dungarpur (former domestic cricketer) and Vijay Merchant (10 Tests; there weren’t many games during his time). I will go for a selector who has integrity and knowledge,” he said.

The BCCI is likely to forward the names of the shortlisted candidates to the CAC after the apex council meeting in New Delhi on Sunday.

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