National selector Paranjpe happy with facilities at small centres

BCCI selection committee member, Jatin Paranjpe, feels the infrastructure at the venues he came across in small cities is something he could not have imagined during his playing days.

Jatin Paranjpe: "I have got an other opportunity to serve Indian cricket as a selector."   -  P.K. AJITH KUMAR

Growing up, Jatin Paranjpe’s dream was to play for the Bombay cricket team. He went one better, being picked in 1998 to play One-Day International cricket for India. But an ankle injury meant the left-handed batsman could only play four matches for his country.

However, that did not sever his connection to the game. And twenty years hence, he is a national selector.

“I consider it as an honour, though it is a tough job,” Paranjpe told Sportstar. “You have to travel across the country constantly and monitor the progress of several players.”

Taking cricket to smaller centres

From the Wayanad cricket stadium, where he watched India-A taking on the England Lions in the first ‘Test’ between February 7 and 10, he will travel to Mysuru for the second and final match of the series, which will begin on Wednesday.

“To watch domestic matches, I have been to several places like Ongole (Andhra Pradesh), Surat (Gujarat) and Dindigul (Tamil Nadu),” he said. “I could see that cricket has truly spread its wings far away from traditional centres like Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.”

Paranjpe feels the infrastructure at the venues he came across in small cities is something he could not have imagined during his playing days. “I think the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) has done a great job of taking cricket to small towns across the country,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised to see the ground and the facilities here in Wayanad, Ongole and Dindigul.”

Looking back at his career, he said he was happy with what he achieved. “Though I was exposed to cricket from a young age, as the son of Vasu Paranjpe (a former Ranji cricketer and coach at the National Cricket Academy), I hadn’t dreamt of playing for India initially,” he said. “Even to break into the Bombay team at that time wasn’t easy, with so many stalwarts in its batting line-up.”

He still made his mark and finished his first-class career with 3,964 runs from 62 matches at an average of 46.09 with 15 centuries. In his short international career, he had shown promise.

He scored an unbeaten 23 off as many balls to lead India to a six-wicket victory against Pakistan at Toronto in 1998. “Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin had told me I would surely be playing for the next few matches,” he said.

“But, I suffered that ankle injury – very similar to the once Prithvi Shaw has recently had – and was out of the team for eight months, because the injury management was poor those days. I could never make a comeback after that. But that’s fine; I have got an other opportunity to serve Indian cricket as a selector.”