Champions Trophy: Selection delay not a worry for India selectors

The National selectors are hardly perturbed with the delay in the selection of the team for the Champions Trophy scheduled to commence in England from June 1.

India is the defending champion. It had won the Champions Trophy in 2013.   -  AP


The National selectors are hardly perturbed with the delay in the selection of the team for the Champions Trophy scheduled to commence in England from June 1.

The team was to be picked on April 22, three days ahead of the deadline set by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for submitting the names of the players. Most participating nations are expected to announce their squads with Australia, Bangladesh and South Africa already through with their selections.

The tournament rules stipulate that a player may be replaced only in the wake of an injury sustained during the competition but there is no clarity on what action the ICC could initiate if a nation does not meet the deadline.

Sources confirmed that India would miss the April 25 deadline because of the ICC meetings in Dubai. “It is not that the selectors would be coming from far-flung corners of the world if they have to meet at a short notice. There is no need to panic,” said a Board official. In any case, the selectors are reportedly ready even though indications are the team may now be picked after May 27.

Read: It's Nehra or Shami for Champions Trophy

The selectors have their way of communicating with each other. According to a former National selector, there were times when the members would come prepared and the meeting would be over in less than half hour. “There may have been long meetings too following healthy debates over a name or two but usually we would discuss the names before assembling and come to a conclusion with consensus of all,” said Vikram Rathour, part of the previous selection committee.

In fact the selections of the Indian team for the World Cup in 2011 and 2015 were reportedly smooth because the members had exchanged their notes and opinions on a consistent basis and when they met at the table to finalise the process was achieved in a smooth manner.

“It is not that we come and meet and then discuss. At most meetings, 12 to 13 players pick themselves and the remaining are selected on the basis of the slot available. The key factors are consistency and utility. We look at the first-class season performances of the batsmen and only in a rare instance would a player be picked on the basis of a showing in one particular tournament unless you come across a bowler who bowls 140-plus consistently (like Basil Thampi of Kerala),” added Rathour.

Baroda all-rounder Hardik Pandya was selected on the basis of his IPL performances last season only because there was no other candidate for the all-rounder’s slot other than Stuart Binny and Rishi Dhawan.

Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik has been in splendid form this season, topping the batting aggregate in the Vijay Hazare Tournament (607 runs) and Deodhar Trophy (247 runs) but he loses out to MS Dhoni and also because the selectors would likely persist with Kedar Jadhav, who can keep wickets in emergency.

Karthik can stake his claims for the opener’s slow too where Shikhar Dhawan and Manish Pandey are in close race, not to forget some backing for Delhi star Rishabh Pant.

The selectors had included four seamers for the Champions Trophy in 2013 because of English conditions and one can expect the same policy. Umesh Yadav, Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah should pick themselves this time along with spinners R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav/Harbhajan Singh. The best Test bowler, Mohammed Shami, is short of match practice and would need skipper Virat Kohli's backing to make it to the squad.

Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jadhav, Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni, Dhawan/Pandey complete the batting with Pandya in as an all-rounder on recent performances and their consistency to deliver. Dhawan, with an aggregate of 363 runs (two centuries) was the man of the tournament when India won the title beating England in a match reduced to 20 overs a side.

Far-fetched Idea

Amidst reports that the selection this time has been delayed due to India’s threat to pull out of the Champions Trophy due to the ongoing tussle between the Board and the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the revenue sharing model, a veteran official of the BCCI dismissed it as a “far-fetched idea.”

“How can you take such a drastic decision without giving a thought to the repercussions it may cause,” asked the official familiar with the developments. “In any case, this decision would have to be taken by the General Body and its scheduled meeting is only after the Champions Trophy. Who has the authority to decide India will not participate in the Champions Trophy without keeping in mind the interest of the players,” the official emphasised.

If India was to take the decision, without consulting the players, it would harm the game in a big way. “The ICC will impose sanctions that would hurt the team big. Do you realise how the broadcasters and sponsors would react to your pulling out of the Champions Trophy? What if the other nations stop their players from participating in the IPL (Indian Premier League). It would be then reduced to a Mushtaq Ali tournament of domestic players only,” he added.

The official hoped better sense would prevail and India would participate in the Champions Trophy. “The main stake holders are the players and not the officials. To please your ego you can’t take decisions that can harm the players who have prepared hard for the Champions Trophy. We are the defending champions and are expected to keep the Trophy on form,” the official concluded.