Chief selector defies gag order November 22, 2007

BCCI decide to issue show-cause notice to Vengsarkar

Cricinfo staff

A second warning by the BCCI didn't deter Dilip Vengsarkar from speaking to the press © AFP

The Indian cricket board has decided to serve a show-cause notice to Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of selectors for defying an official gag by continuing to write his weekly column and giving an interview to Bombay Times, a Mumbai-based newspaper.

Rajiv Shukla, vice-president of the Board for Control of Cricket in India told PTI that the decision to serve the notice was taken by Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president. "An explanation will be sought from Vengsarkar for the columns which have appeared in Hindi and Marathi dailies," he said. His column appeared in a Marathi paper, Sakal, and Hindi daily, Amar Ujala.

"The BCCI is of the view that if he wants to continue as a columnist, he can give up the post of the chief selector," Shukla said. However, the board secretary Niranjan Shah said that the notice hadn't yet been served. "It will be done some time by today," he told Cricinfo. "We have decided to issue it, maybe by evening."

The BCCI had earlier imposed a seven-point diktat to the national selectors, and one of the main points of the directive was to restrict them from airing their views by writing newspaper columns or even interacting with the media.

Vengsarkar had earlier flouted an oral directive by the BCCI after a piece carrying his byline appeared in Sakal, a Marathi daily run by the brother of Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president. That prompted the board to seek an explanation from Vengsarkar as well as impose further restrictions on all the national selectors by banning them from accompanying the team on foreign tours.

Vengsarkar has been writing his columns ever since he took over as chairman. There is a view, especially with selectors enjoying only a honorary post, that Vengsarkar shouldn't be asked to sacrifice what is effectively a regular salary.

In his latest interview, Vengsarkar spoke of India's Test captaincy issue, following Rahul Dravid's resignation after the England tour. He hinted that Dravid's batting form may have contributed to his decision and the selectors felt it was best to give him a break by dropping him from the one-day squad.

"I feel he [Dravid] is a very sensitive person and I guess too much media pressure affected his batting," Vengsarkar told the paper. "Dravid looked mentally down when we gave him a break. At such a time, it is always better for a player to play domestic or even club cricket to get his confidence and rhythm back. Dravid has done that and I'm sure he will score loads of runs in the future."

On the appointment of separate captains for Test and one-dayers, Vengsarkar said the selectors were in favour of an experienced candidate for for the Tests keeping in mind India's challenging tour of Australia next month. He added that Mahandra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh were close contenders for the one-day post.

"It is really difficult to differentiate between the two because both have some great qualities to take Indian cricket to the top," he said. "I guess Dhoni's cool demeanor in a crisis tipped the scale in his favour.

"Kumble is highly respected by his team-mates but also by the opposition. Most importantly he knows how to handle the Aussies in their own backyard."