Sends angry e-mail to BCCI president December 4, 2007

Vengsarkar hits out at board functioning

Cricinfo staff

Dilip Vengsarkar has criticised BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah for changing the dates of selection meetings "as per his whims and fancies" © AFP

India's chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar, who is said to be on the verge of resigning his post, has come down hard on a couple of board officials and the running of the board on "whims and fancies." He also hints at a division within the board's ruling group.

In an e-mail to board president Sharad Pawar and four other officials Vengsarkar also made it clear that he couldn't accept the boards seven-point diktat for the selectors and wanted compensation for being barred from writing newspaper columns.

Vengsarkar mentions in the e-mail, which was leaked to the Indian Express, a conversation he had with BCCI president-elect Shashank Manohar. "I was aghast when Mr Shashank Manohar told me over the telephone yesterday that Mr [Inderjit Singh] Bindra is the man behind all these happenings against the selectors," he wrote. "I think Mr Bindra is not only a responsible official of the BCCI but also a former President of the BCCI."

Bindra heads the Punjab Cricket Association and is seen as a senior member of the group backing Sharad Pawar, the board president.

Vengsarkar, who was at the ongoing Kolkata Test, returned to Mumbai mid-way through it, prompting speculation over his future. He'd met Pawar in Kolkata and referred to it in the mail. "Sir, during our recent meeting at Kolkata I was taken aback when you mentioned that I do not give opportunity to other selectors to watch international matches. On my return to Mumbai, I spoke to Sanjay Jagdale, Ranjib Biswal and Raju and they categorically denied having ever said a word about it. In fact, in our last selection committee meeting, it was mutually decided that I would be watching the first two Test matches and it's on the BCCI's record."

He then moved on to the issue surrounding dates of selection. "Another issue is that the BCCI secretary Mr Niranjan Shah, even after finalising the dates for the selection of the teams, changes them as per his whims and fancies and convenience not bothering to even check with us. He has done this on several occasions and as a result I have to cancel many important commitments.

"The recent fiasco of shifting the selection committee meeting from Kolkata which was finalised two weeks in advance in consultation with other selectors, to Bangalore on 5th December shows his high handedness in handling BCCI's important matters. He has done it several times in the past. This time however he said that the selectors must watch all the four days of the Ranji Trophy matches. Sir, let me put it on record that Mr Shah on several occasions has preponed/postponed meetings as he pleased."

"For example, we selected the team for the recently concluded India-Australia one-dayers even before the final match of the Challengers Trophy was played. He was also forcing us to select the captain of the ongoing Pakistan series at Mohali at 6 pm as he had to catch the flight when the day/night match was half-way through. We refused and Mr. Shah left the ground in a huff and Mr. Pandove had to convene the meeting later. There are several such occasions which I cannot mention here."

The e-mail ends with Vengsarkar's conditions for continuing as chairman of selectors. "I would be glad to continue as the chairman of selection committee but ONLY IF the restrictions imposed on me are revoked unconditionally and I am compensated for agreeing to not to write the columns in the newspapers before I attend the next selection committee meeting at Bangalore on 5th December."

Vengsarkar also gave an interview to the Mumbai Mirror newspaper where he criticised the board. "This is an honorary job, and no sane person will accept such conditons," Vengsarkar said. ""There were no such guidelines in place when I signed up. They have drafted them only days back."