Vengsarkar: 'Picking Kohli ended my job as chief selector'

Dilip Vengsarkar has revealed that his tenure as chairman of selectors ended abruptly in 2008 after he picked a young Virat Kohli over Tamil Nadu batsman S. Badrinath.

Dilip Vengsarkar's tenure as chief selector lasted for less than two years.   -  Vivek Bendre

Dilip Vengsarkar has revealed that his tenure as chairman of selectors ended abruptly in 2008 after he picked a young Virat Kohli over Tamil Nadu batsman S. Badrinath.

N. Srinivasan, then BCCI treasurer was particularly not happy with Vengsarkar's decision and then eventually leading to his ouster as chief selector. The former India captian, speaking at a function on Wednesday, said he was very keen on picking Kohli for the tour of Sri Lanka - who had led India to U-19 World Cup victory. When the selection committee met to select the Test and ODI squads, he was keen on handing Kohli a debut in the ODIs, but then captain M.S. Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten were reluctant.

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"I felt this was an ideal situation to include Kohli in the squad. Although the other four selectors agreed with my decision, Gary Kirsten and M.S. Dhoni were reluctant as they had not seen much of Kohli. I told them that I have seen him and we have to include him in the team,” Vengsarkar said.

“I knew that they were keen on keeping S Badrinath in the team because he was a Chennai Super Kings player. If Kohli would have come in, Badrinath would have been dropped. N Srinivasan was the BCCI treasurer at that time. He was upset that Badrinath was dropped because he was their player.”

Badrinath was later selected when Sachin Tendulkar pulled out because of an injury and made his debut in the second ODI and played three matches. While Kohli, on that 2008 Sri Lanka tour, made his debut in the first ODI and played in all the five matches. Kohli scored a fifty and averaged 31.50 and Badrinath averaged 19.5 from his three innings.

Vengsarkar says, it was Srinivasan's influence that saw him out of the job after taking over from Kiran More in 2006 and his tenure ending in less than two years, with Kris Srikkanth replacing him.

"Srinivasan asked me the reason for leaving out Badrinath, and I said that I had been on the Emerging Players tour to Australia and that Virat is an exceptional player. But he said that Badrinath has scored over 800 runs for Tamil Nadu. I told him that he will get his chance. He then asked, 'When will he get his chance? He is already 29 now'. I told him he will get his chance but not sure when. The next day, he took Srikkanth to Sharad Pawar - the BCCI president then and that was the end of my selection tenure," Vengsarkar said.

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