Vengsarkar opts out of selection committee post (9 Sep 1996)

i9th Sep 1996

Dilip Vengsarkar opts out of running for selection committee post

Rediffusion on the Net

Just the other day, Dilip Vengsarkar - the second highest Indian run-getter in Tests after Sunil Gavaskar - was expected to take over as chairman of the national selectors after incumbent Gundappa Vishwanath completed his tenure.

Today, he is out of the race - and what is more, the withdrawal is entirely voluntary.

"I have consistently written against zonal representation in the selection committee," said the veteran of nearly 250 international appearances. "It would be a sham if I were now to be a party to such things."

Vengsarkar's grouse is that he is being seen as the West Zone replacement for Anshuman Gaekwad, whose tenure as a national selector also ends this year.

What is worse, Vengsarkar indicates, is the composition of the committee. "I believe that someone who presides over India's cricketing destiny should be a knowledgeable person. My personal feeling is that a selector should have played no less than a minimum of 25 Tests, to know what it takes to play the game at that level."

Vengsarkar's point is that the three selectors whose terms will not expire this year - Kishen Rungta, Sambaran Bannerjee and M P Pandove - have none of them played a single Test.

"In this scenario, I might find myself a helpless party to decisions I may not agree with," said the Test star. "So I have decided not to leave myself in a vulnerable position."

Vengsarkar has for long been a passionate advocate of selection on the basis of merit alone, with no zonal considerations. Three years ago he represented Bombay in the committee formed to pick the West Zone side for the Duleep Trophy - and after that exercise, vowed that he would never again be party to horse-trading in team selection.

Vengsarkar, who took the initiative to begin the non-profit Elf-Vengsarkar Cricket Academy in Bombay to nurture young talent under coaches of the order of Balwinder Singh Sandhu and K Jayantilal, has now offered himself as a candidate for the Bombay Cricket Association's vice-presidency, elections for which will be held on September 13. His candidature has support from no less than Maharashtra chief minister and BCA president Manohar Joshi, who for his part is slated to be unanimously elected for another term.

Vengsarkar, who not only ensured that the EVCA has the best wickets, for both batting and bowling, in the city but also personally participates in the coaching process, is therefore a cert for election. Ironically, Vengsarkar's candidacy has meant that former India captain and manager Ajit Wadekar will have to fight for the second vice president's post with former Test stars Ramakant Desai and Sudhir Naik.

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