Need for a mature approach

Yashpal Sharma and Pranab Roy (below), by criticising the BCCI for their removal, have shown lack of maturity. Their outburst is emotional but it's misleading to those who don't know the process of selection of selectors.-RAJEEV BHATT Yashpal Sharma and Pranab Roy (below), by criticising the BCCI for their removal, have shown lack of maturity. Their outburst is emotional but it's misleading to those who don't know the process of selection of selectors.

GIVING vent to frustrations can be expected from a dropped player, but never have we seen the spectacle of sacked selectors criticising the board. Not even in other countries. Yashpal Sharma and to some extent Pranab Roy, by criticising the BCCI for their removal, have shown lack of maturity. Their outburst is emotional but it's misleading to those who don't know the process of selection of selectors.

First, the selection process. A selector is not chosen by the BCCI. He is chosen by the associations in the zone. A person who is in the inner coterie of the group in his association has a better chance of becoming a selector. Here again the vote becomes crucial. An association, which can switch its allegiance to another power-group, has more bargaining clout.

The contention of both Sharma and Roy is that they have been replaced along with Gopal Sharma of UP because they included Sourav Ganguly in the Test squad. This is a blatant lie. Yashpal Sharma represents Delhi and his association was with the Dalmiya group. Similarly Gopal Sharma's UP too was with Dalmiya. So they were replaced by the associations belonging to the Pawar group. Bhupinder Singh of Punjab and Sanjay Jagdale of MP who have supported Pawar replaced Yashpal Sharma and Gopal Sharma.

The case of Pranab Roy is interesting. Most of the associations in the East Zone were with Dalmiya, but Orissa asked for Ranjib Biswal, President of their association, to be made a national selector. Had that not been accepted, Orissa would have switched over to the Pawar group. So Bengal's Pranab Roy was replaced by Orissa's Ranjib Biswal. The move was accepted by the Cricket Association of Bengal, with the larger motive of keeping Orissa with the Dalmiya group. Didn't Yashpal Sharma lobby to replace Kirti Azad on the national selection committee when Azad had two years of the term left? Now Yashpal Sharma and Pranab Roy are both trying to get their positions back by appealing for public sympathy. True, they have both been supporters of Sourav Ganguly. But it is equally true that their respective sackings have had nothing to do with their support of Ganguly and everything to do with their being on the losing side in the BCCI elections.

In fact, Roy was sacrificed to avert this very loss, and now three weeks later, he has started claiming that he was a personal target. He was not, merely an incidental one. And what would he have been claiming if the Dalmiya group were in power now? That they removed him for supporting Sourav Ganguly?

And if Yashpal Sharma felt that the leak that occurred in the media after Ganguly's inclusion was unfair to him, he ought to have registered a protest with the BCCI. Why talk now? It's simple politics. Had Kiran More's Baroda Cricket Association gone with Dalmiya, More too would have been replaced. Wasn't Dalmiya supporter Brijesh Patel replaced by Shivlal Yadav as the Director of the NCA?

V. GANESAN

The board shouldn't have replaced two junior selectors because the committee has been watching Under-19 matches to select the team for the World Cup, which is in February 2006. The new members, who haven't watched these matches, will either not be able to contribute in the selection committee or could join hands with others to push the boys from their zone.

Yes, the system has to change. It's pointless writing about the need for a three-member selection committee. Every time it's debated, an excuse is given that constitution amendment is required.

The fact is neither group is interested in going for that amendment. One can't get rid of politics in democracy but if cricket could be spared, things would improve a great deal. The BCCI has formed a few new committees with some different formations. The Cricket Development Committee headed by Kapil Dev will be asked to develop the game. Can they not be entrusted with the responsibility of appointing the selectors in the States by interviewing former cricketers? The problem is that, at the junior level, measure, which are absolutely necessary are ignored.

We are talking about the infrastructure but one needs to take the steps to have a good pyramid of progress. In a huge country like India, you need to have zonal cricket academies running throughout the year. What purpose is served by having zonal academies for six weeks in a year? There are 81 junior teams participating in the inter-State tournaments and the performers need to be guided constantly.

The NCA at the moment operates only for five months of the year. A programme has to be devised for getting top quality cricketers trained during the season especially for boys who are below 17. The one month that the boys of this age-group spend at the NCA is not sufficient for them to grasp and implement remedial measures. Those who are trained at the zonal academies may be sent to the NCA in Bangalore. We will have to wait and watch the moves of the BCCI. They have shown signs of change. There is also talk of the BCCI involving management companies to make the institution more professional. Usually there is always resistance to any change, but this time one sees the enthusiasm in making things happen quickly.

When promises are made, the work direction has to be decided. One can understand the enthusiasm but over-zealousness could be dangerous. Already Himachal Pradesh is fielding two teams in the Ranji Trophy and if this trend continues, we will get to see petty politics. The elections are over and one hopes for some sort of mature approach of the seasoned representatives for Indian cricket to develop.