Selecting selectors, now an issue for BCCI

Since only Test players qualify to be senior National selectors, there could be a situation where finding deserving candidates may become a challenge for the Board of Control for Cricket in India officials.

The cricket fraternity is nursing a concern that could blow up into a big issue in the near future. Since only Test players qualify to be senior National selectors, there could be a situation where finding deserving candidates may become a challenge for the Board of Control for Cricket in India officials.

Of the 287 players who have turned up for India in Test cricket, 160 are ruled out for different reasons — they are either deceased or above the age limit of 60 set by the Lodha Committee. From the remaining pool, a large number of players fails to make the grade — either for not meeting the age restriction or for having retired less than five years earlier.

The pool shrinks to a limit where the choice narrows down to erstwhile players who just about meet the criteria but lack the stature. It is not that the Board may not find star candidates but, as a retired player observed, they may desist from applying for the job which is not as lucrative as a position in the electronic media.

“Why should I leave a job for another which gives me lesser annual remuneration,” asked an international player, referring to the difference in earnings as a TV expert/commentator and a National selector.

“To attract players of stature and with a vision to take up a selector’s position, the Board would need to match the fee that the broadcasters dole out. It is also a matter of attitude, because a selector spends much time in watching and travelling for matches than a commentator who does his job from the comforts of a cabin and that too for international matches. A selector is also required to watch domestic matches, most times without company, and prepare himself for criticism,” said the player.

It would help if not just Test cricketers but also first-class players qualify for the job of National selectors. “The range would improve if the pool includes cricketers who have played 75 or more first-class matches,” the player said.

There was another suggestion to give weightage to cricketers who would have played 100 or more One Day Internationals. “Take the example of Robin Singh, who played only one Test but figured in more than 100 ODIs (136). What if he had not played the one Test? His experience of ODIs can match a player who may stake his claims only because he would have played a Test,” the cricketer made his point.