Vengsarkar backs Srikkanth
Dilip Vengsarkar, who was replaced by Kris Srikkanth as chairman of India's national selection committee, has pledged his "full support" to his successor. Vengsarkar told Cricinfo he will soon have a discussion with his 1983 World Cup team-mate to pass on information that will help in picking the Indian team for the home Test series against Australia.
Vengsarkar looked back "with satisfaction" at his stint as chief selector and defended the controversial ouster of senior players, including Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, during his two-year tenure, saying those decisions have "yielded fruit".
"There was nothing personal against any player," Vengsarkar said. "And I am sure they understand that too. I have always done my job with courage and conviction, and nobody can question me on that. As you can see, all those decisions have yielded fruit now."
He said that those "tough" decisions, which "created a lot of new options for the Indian team", would not have been possible without the backing of his colleagues, Venkatapathy Raju, Sanjay Jagdale, Ranjib Biswal and Bhupinder Singh, all of whom were replaced today. "It's probably for the first time in Indian cricket that we have had selection committee meetings which saw no arguments, or heated words, or even voting of any kind."
The new selection committee is scheduled to meet next week to pick the team for the first Test against Australia starting in Bangalore on October 9. "Srikkanth called me after being appointed as the chairman," Vengsarkar said. "He said that he will call again to ask for my inputs to select the Indian team for the Australia Test series. And I have told him that he can call me anytime, day or night, and I will be there."
However, Vengsarkar refused to comment on the new eligibility rules for national selectors, especially the one that bars them from holding dual posts, which ruled him out of a third year at the helm. Vengsarkar is currently a vice-president of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).
Asked whether he was disappointed at being replaced, Vengsarkar said, "Why should I be? I am happy with whatever I have been able to contribute over the last two years. I will now take time off to relax, spend more time in my cricket academy, and will focus on a role in the media.
"I have enough reasons to look back with satisfaction. During the tenure of our selection committee, India has risen from No. 7 to No. 2 in the world rankings, and they are now very close to Australia," he said. "We have created a lot of new options for the Indian team. The India A team is now very strong, and we have watched and promoted youngsters across the board. The results are there for all to see, and I am sure the new selection committee will take it up from here."
Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo