India news December 11, 2012

Dhoni sacking blocked by board chief - Amarnath

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mohinder Amarnath, the former India selector, has said it was the BCCI president, N Srinivasan, who overruled the selectors' unanimous call for sacking of MS Dhoni as captain after the two whitewashes in England and Australia. "The Board President did not approve the unanimous decision to replace Mahendra Singh Dhoni," Amarnath told CNN-IBN.

Post the Test debacle in Australia, Amarnath said, the selectors wanted to appoint a young captain for the triangular one-day series that followed, but their decision was overturned.

"We selected the team for the triangular series, selected 17 players but we did not select the captain," he said. "The captain was selected by somebody else."

Asked whether he questioned the decision, Amarnath said, "When you respect a person you don't ask questions. But my question is, you have a selection committee those who think what is best for Indian cricket then why they are not given a free hand.

The selectors thought about stepping down then, Amarnath said, but decided against it as they, "did not want to create a big stir there as the team was playing abroad and the series was going on there."

There was massive speculation that this was the reason Amarnath's term as a selector ended abruptly when he was actually expected to be the new chairman of the selectors. When asked about that, all Amarnath said was: "I don't miss it."

Amarnath was asked to clarify a rumour doing the rounds that he was cited the BCCI constitution that stated he could not sack Dhoni without the higher-ups clearing it. "Neither will I say yes nor will I deny it, okay," he responded. "I know the facts, and I will tell you the facts when I feel the time is right." He did go on to say, though, that he was not aware of the constitution. Clause 13(a)(iv) of the BCCI constitution states that: "The President shall approve the composition of a team, selected by the Selection Committee."

"When somebody becomes a selector, I don't think you are aware of the constitution of the BCCI," he said. "I was not aware. I don't think even the current committee is aware of the constitution."

According to the Indian Express, Amarnath, Narendra Hirwani and Raja Venkat, during a meeting in January this year for selecting the squad for the CB Series in Australia, wanted to sack Dhoni.

"Sanjay Jagdale, the BCCI secretary and convener of the national selection committee, consulted BCCI president N Srinivasan who shot down the proposal. Srinivasan made it clear that though the majority of the selectors felt that Dhoni didn't inspire confidence as Test skipper the time was not right to remove him," a selector told the paper.

Why does Amarnath think Dhoni doesn't deserve a place in the Test side? "If you see his track record for the last one year as captain, I am talking about Test matches, not one-day, he hasn't done anything," Amarnath said. "You give a run to a guy. I am not saying you should remove a guy overnight, but if you see a guy is failing again and again, I don't think it is going to be possible to continue with the same guy.

"I think he should be replaced in Test cricket. I am not talking shorter versions. He is an asset there, he has done very well, he is a match-winner, but with the technique he has I don't see him do any wonders in Test cricket.

"You have to look at contribution of the players, where you are playing and what opposition you are playing. We have to move ahead with times, and we have to look forward. People who have contributed to the game, we respect them, we adore them, but what is important is future of Indian cricket and not to live in the past. Cricket has changed, age has everything to do in life. We have to look ahead.

"I believe in fresh blood. I was looking forward for a guy like Virat Kohli to take over as captain in one day cricket. I think he is a fantastic player, he is the future."

When Amarnath spoke about moving forward, he was asked about Sachin Tendulkar and what his future should be. "Sachin has been a great cricketer, a great ambassador, he has achieved everything but I think they way he is playing we see a shadow of Sachin Tendulkar," he said. "And I don't accept him to play in the same fashion as he has done in the past. Age is a factor. He is not alone. Look at all greats. Once you cross mid-30s, things become little bit difficult, a little bit more demanding. He is no exception. He has to take it very seriously, and I think the selectors have to have a word with him, what are his plans. Then they should take a call and then decide."