Board says selection priority, issues can be discussed afterwards December 4, 2007

'As of today, Vengsarkar is chairman' - Pawar

Cricinfo staff

Dilip Vengsarkar said he will attend the meeting for selection of squad for Australia after the board announced it would meet on December 16 to decide payment for selectors © AFP

The Indian board today seemed to soften its stand on Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of selectors, who had threatened to resign over the issue of his writing columns in the media. Sharad Pawar, the board president, said in New Delhi on Tuesday that Vengsarkar remained the chairman of selectors and issues raised by him could be discussed after the selection of the squad for Australia in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Later in the evening, Vengsarkar said he would attend the selection meeting. "I have decided to attend the meeting in the interest of Indian cricket and following the softening of the board's stand," he said. It has been learnt that Pawar assured Vengsarkar he would try and sort out all of Vengsarkar's issues and meet him in that regard later in the week.

"Dilip Vengsarkar has done a good job as chairman," Pawar said. "We want him to prioritise the selection of the team for Australia, all issues can be discussed after that. There is a board meeting on December 16 to discuss the issue of payment for selectors, all issues can be resolved after the selection meeting."

Pawar admitted that the Rs 40 lakh that Vengsarkar had claimed he lost by not being allowed to write newspaper columns was a big amount. "We don't pay selectors, like some other countries have. But selectors need to travel a lot and watch number of matches. So we have to decide how to compensate the loss."

The key point of dispute was the board's refusal to allow Vengsarkar to continue with his newspaper columns. Vengsarkar has sought compensation for the loss of income arising from such a rule and the board has so far refused to back down but Pawar hinted at a resolution, saying, "There is scope to compensate selectors."

Asked about Vengsarkar's allegations that board secretary Niranjan Shah often changed dates and venues of selection meetings on his "whims and fancies", Pawar sought to downplay the issue. "Well, it's not something very serious. Vengsarkar was unhappy about it but the secretary has other responsibilities as well and sometimes, you have to consider his convenience as well. Even cabinet meetings are shifted and this is not a big deal."