It could be a three-way race for the next chief cricket selector with three former India bowlers from south zone—Venkatesh Prasad, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Sunil Joshi in contention. Interviews for the two vacant posts in the five-member national selection committee will be conducted here on Wednesday.
The Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Madan Lal, RP Singh and Sulakshana Naik had their first meeting at the BCCI headquarters on Tuesday to shortlist the candidates for interviews. “The new selection panel will select the team for the South Africa (ODI) series,” BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, said. The three-match series starts on March 12 and the first game will be played in Dharamsala.
It’s learnt the interview list has been pruned to five and BCCI is expected to stick to zonal representation in the appointment of the new selection panel. Former India off-spinner Rajesh Chauhan and former India seamer Harvinder Singh, both from central zone, have also been called up to present their case before the CAC.
Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar had also applied and was seen as the frontrunner for the chief selector’s post, but lost out because of the zonal formula as Jatin Paranjpe is already a west zone selector. Devang Gandhi and Sarandeep Singh are the other current selectors, from east and north zone respectively.
As per the new BCCI constitution, the ‘seniormost Test cap’ would become chief selector. Ganguly had earlier clarified to HT that it meant ‘the most capped Test cricketer’.
Amongst the applicants, Prasad has played the most Tests (33). But whether he can serve a full term is in doubt as he has already served as a junior selector—he headed the panel—for two-and-a-half years. Former left-arm spinner Joshi, also from Karnataka, has played 15 Tests while Sivaramakrishnan, from Tamil Nadu, has featured in nine.
Chief selector MSK Prasad and Gagan Khoda have finished their term and would have been replaced if the AGM had been scheduled on time last September. On Jan 31, the CAC was finally formed with former India player, selector and coach Madan Lal as its seniormost member.
Earlier on Tuesday, outgoing chairman of selectors MSK Prasad had a meeting with BCCI officials. Prasad has been monitoring the progress of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan—all currently playing in the DY Patil T20 trophy in Mumbai post injury layoffs. “They are all looking in good shape,” Prasad said.
NO IPL IMPACT SEEN
With at least six people testing positive for coronavirus in India this week, there has been some concerns of it having an impact on Indian Premier League, starting March 29. However, BCCI officials don’t seem overly worried at this stage. “There is no threat, but we are keeping tab on developments,” IPL chairman Brijesh Patel said.
Ganguly was dismissive about the virus impacting IPL or any foreign players having reservations in playing in it. “We haven’t even discussed it yet,” he said.
The South Africa team is due to arrive next week for the ODI series with the Dharmsala game to be followed by matches in Lucknow (March 15) and Kolkata (March 18). “They are coming on schedule and there are no issues,” a top board official said.