MCA's CIC chief Rajput alleges interference by apex council members in coach selection

Lalchand Rajput has alleged that Sachin Tendulkar's name is being misused by some members to throw their weight around in the appointment of coaches, selectors.

Lalchand Rajput is the chairman of Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA’s) Cricket Improvement Committee.   -  Vivek Bendre

Lalchand Rajput, the chairman of Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA’s) Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC), has alleged select members of the apex council of trying to influence CIC during the coaches’ appointment procedure.

Less than 48 hours after the CIC interviewed all the 24 shortlisted candidates for coaching positions for the forthcoming domestic season, Rajput has written a scathing letter to MCA president Vijay Patil.

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“We respect Mr. Sachin Tendulkar but his name is used unnecessarily everywhere to put pressure that Sachin has recommended X, Y and Z. If Sachin has to make any recommendations, he can directly talk to the President and CIC as we all know him very well. Tendulkar is an icon we respect him and I am sure if he has any suggestions, he has every right to put his views across to us,” Rajput wrote in the email, accessed by Sportstar, addressed to Patil and marked to all other members of the apex council.

Stressing that the CIC, which also includes former Test cricketers Raju Kulkarni and Sameer Dighe, is “here to improve Mumbai's cricket and will take some harsh decisions” if required, Rajput concluded with: “We are all no-nonsense persons who will not succumb to such tactics and pressure. We will do our job diligently and work in the framework of the constitution.”

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Rajput singled out Amit Dani, the former Mumbai assistant coach who is the only elected first-class cricketer in the apex council, for allegedly trying to influence him. “I am always open for suggestions and they are always welcome but Mr. Amit Dani cannot tell me that I should include X or Y, which I have not liked. Now I know why Mumbai cricket is going down because being an apex council member, they can throw their weight around and get things done. We as CIC will not allow these things to happen.”

According to a member of an apex council, Dani was acting after being asked by the president to interact with CIC. While Patil didn’t respond to request for a comment, Dani told Sportstar: “It’s nothing but a misunderstanding and will be sorted out soon.”

On Wednesday, the CIC conducted interviews for coaches across teams, including two female candidates. It is understood that former India pacer Salil Ankola and former Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni are front-runners for the Ranji Trophy team coach’s position.

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