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August 2, 2006
VB Chandrasekhar, the national selector from South zone, has come out in support of John Wright with regard to his comments on team selection, saying that it was well within his rights to share his opinions. Since disclosing his opinions in his book John Wright's Indian Summers, Wright has faced scathing criticism from other former selectors, who were of the opinion that his comments were in bad taste.
In an interview to The Hindu, Chandrasekhar said that he enjoyed a good working relationship with Wright. "He has the right to say what he has said," Chandrasekhar said. "He has not named anyone and I respect him for that. We had long meetings, but I never had a problem working or interacting with him. There were no major arguments."
Chandrasekhar stated that Wright's most productive period was during his initial years as India coach, when he presented new ideas to the selection committee. However, it began to stagnate after that, and the selectors felt the need for fresh inputs. "Wright, perhaps, showed the initiative in the first three years", he said. "Towards the end, it probably wasn't there. He was a very quiet man."
Wright mentioned instances during meetings when certain selectors openly expressed their resentment if their chosen players failed to find favour with the rest, but Chandrasekhar said that such cases are bound to happen. "Every selection meeting has a few people leaving with the wrong kind of faces. For instance, there were a few fights while choosing between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik. Karthik got his opportunity first, then Dhoni came along. I feel sorry for Karthik, but if the person performs extraordinarily well like Dhoni, we must all feel very proud about it."
Contrary to Wright's comments that the system needed overhauling more than anything else, Chandrasekhar defended the five-man zonal selection panel, as it has produced results. He added that such a system is necessary, given the size of the country and the volume of players to pick from. "We are watching matches far away from our zones, criss-crossing the country", he said. "We watch more domestic cricket than anybody from the team."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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