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October 28, 2004
Kirti Azad, the former national selector, has added to the clamour over Parthiv Patel's continued selection in the Indian team, saying that politics within the selection committee was the reason for his prolonged presence in the line-up.
Speaking to The Times of India, Azad said that he and Syed Kirmani, the former chairman of selectors, had proposed the names of other wicketkeepers, but were constantly outvoted by the other three on the five-man panel. "Kiran More [the West Zone selector], Pranab Roy [East Zone], and Sanjay Jagdale [Central Zone] simply voted against us," Azad claimed. "It was nothing but vote politics."
More shockingly, Azad also claimed that More humiliated Kirmani during the selection meetings. "More not only shouted at Kirmani but also insulted him by calling him a goalkeeper. He even said that Kirmani didn't have the credentials to judge Parthiv," alleged Azad. "It was, in fact, one of the most shameful scenes during my tenure as selector. How can anybody behave like that with a player of Kirmani's stature? He is, after all, the best wicketkeeper that India has produced." The report also added that More refused to comment on the allegations.
Azad, Kirmani and Jagdale were in the selection committee till last month, when they finished their terms and were replaced by Yashpal Sharma, VB Chandrasekhar and Gopal Sharma, while More took over as the chairman of the panel.
Patel's wicketkeeping has come in for increasing criticism after a string of shoddy performances over the last year. There was plenty of speculation that he would be dropped after his dismal display in the second Test of the current series against Australia, but he managed to retain his place, only to make more errors in the Nagpur game.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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