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December 3, 2007
The war of words between Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of the national selection committee, and the Indian board has reached a deadlock that is likely to result in Vengsarkar stepping down from his post on Monday night or Tuesday morning. Either way, it now appears that a new chairman will head the reconstituted committee before the squad for the Australia tour is selected in Bangalore ahead of the third Test against Pakistan.
Vengsarkar is understood to have sent an email on Sunday to the BCCI, asking it to unconditionally withdraw the seven-point diktat it had earlier sent to the selectors, failing which he would resign from the selection committee. While the BCCI has not replied in writing to Vengsarkar, Rajeev Shukla, a vice-president of the board, has told television channels that there was no chance of the BCCI withdrawing its guidelines as they were a part of the constitution.
Neither Shukla nor Vengsarkar nor Niranjan Shah, the board secretary, could be contacted for their comments. Vengsarkar had left Kolkata for Mumbai late on Saturday night, ahead of schedule, and as speculation grew over the reasons for his sudden departure from the Test match, sources in the board said there'd been a bereavement in Vengsarkar's family and he had to be present in Mumbai.
However, it is now being widely reported that Vengsarkar met board president Sharad Pawar and Shashank Manohar, the BCCI's president-elect, and discussed the contentious issues in the board's guidelines to the selectors. The most contentious clauses were points 2 and 6, which stated:
Vengsarkar had sought compensation from the board for the potential loss of earnings if he stopped writing his columns, especially his weekly syndicated column appearing in several languages in newspapers across the country. After deliberating on the issue - and initially being favourable to some kind of compensation - the board decided it would set a dangerous precedent and refused to compensate Vengsarkar, thereby escalating the issue.
Vengsarkar's replacement will have to come from the West Zone and Aunshuman Gaekwad and Chandu Borde, both of whom have been selectors in the past, are front-runners for the post. Borde was most recently the manager on India's successful tour of England .
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?