BCCI's new selection committee raises eyebrows

It is still not certain whether the BCCI’s decisions will be accepted by the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee.

BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke defended the BCCI’s initiative of selecting selectors through a “thorough scanning process”.   -  Vivek Bendre

While the social media regulars were joking around India’s new selection panel, headed by >former India wicketkeeper M.S.K. Prasad and announced by the BCCI during its AGM on Wednesday after conducting interviews from applicants for the first time, the BCCI corridors were abuzz with another joke.

“This committee could have a term shorter than the combined match appearances they had,” said a BCCI member, on condition of anonymity, on Wednesday evening.

Read: >Number of matches played not important, says MSK Prasad

Jokes aside, the BCCI veteran did have a point. After all, the term of the selection panel, including Prasad, former India openers Devang Gandhi and Gagan Khoda, former batsman Jatin Paranjpe and former off-spinner Sarandeep Singh, could well be over even before it starts.

It is still not certain whether the BCCI’s decisions will be accepted by the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee. If it is not, the BCCI will be left without a selection panel to select the squad for the ODI series against New Zealand. Besides, if the BCCI SGM on September 30 adopts the new rulebook, then the selection committee will have to be reconstituted as a three-member panel by December 30.

Legal aspects aside, the composition of the selection panel does raise a question mark on whether these were the best choices as senior national selectors. The five men have a combined experienced of 13 Tests and 31 ODIs. Agreed that international cricket experience cannot be the sole yardstick to judge credentials as a selector, but the fact that a couple of the three new faces – Prasad and Khoda have been national selectors for the last year – haven’t really been watching too many domestic games of late does raise concerns over their selection.

Sarandeep, the former off-spinner who was sidelined after his action was questioned, was in fact rejected as a Delhi selector, but has got a bigger assignment this time around.

The lesser said about the junior selection panel, which includes multiple players from the same zone – a first for BCCI, the better. Aashish Kapoor played for six domestic teams, including president Thakur’s home team Himachal Pradesh, during his 18-year first-class career. The former Test spinner finds selected along with Amit Sharma, who also played for Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke defended the BCCI’s initiative of naming selectors through a “thorough scanning process”. “We have only filled up selectors’ vacancies as they were created. So two selectors had created their term of four years, the maximum which has been granted to anybody so we have filled it up and the senior-most person has been elevated to the chairman’s position,” he said.