Selectors’ eligibility on MCA apex council agenda

The Mumbai Cricket Association is set to finalise the eligibility criteria for selection committee members for various teams for the forthcoming season.

With no clarity on when the domestic season would begin, preparations haven’t yet begun.   -  Vivek Bendre

The apex council of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) on Tuesday is set to finalise the eligibility criteria for selection committee members for various teams for the forthcoming season.

While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has maintained silence over the domestic season schedule in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MCA has not even begun preparations for the season. While the Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) headed by Lalchand Rajput conducted interviews for coaches of various teams last week, the announcement is delayed due to a variety of reasons.

One of the factors is there are common applicants for coaches’ and selectors’ posts. But the CIC hasn’t been able to shortlist candidates for the selectors’ posts since there seems to be a lot of confusion over eligibility criteria. The CIC is understood to have sought clarity in writing from the apex council.

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As a result, whether to consider those who are over 70 years of age or have served more than five years as a selector/coach should be considered for a selector’s role remains a matter of debate in the apex council meeting. Besides, the council will also have to prescribe a minimum number of first-class appearance to be eligible to be a Ranji selector.

Coach conundrum

Despite Sulakshan Kulkarni, whose earlier three-year stint as the Mumbai coach included the Ranji title in 2012-13, emerging as a clear favourite among the 24 candidates interviewed last week, the apex council is a divided house over his eligibility.

Kulkarni was engaged in a bitter war of words with the MCA ahead of the last domestic season, wherein he turned down the contract that was offered to him after being shortlisted for the positions of the coach. As a result, a section of apex council members, under the influence of influential MCA members, is likely to moot a proposal of keeping him out of the race.

Besides, the apex council will also need to finalise the procedure of appointing coaches at the indoor cricket academy. At the moment, it is not clear whether the selectors or the CIC or the apex council is supposed to appoint coaching staff at the MCA academy. The sooner it is decided the better will be for the promising youngsters in Mumbai.

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