England in India 2008-09 November 22, 2008

Selection-meeting leaks 'disgusting' - Dhoni

Cricinfo staff

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: "It should not be a case where RP feels he is not wanted and left out" © Getty Images

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has described as "disgusting and disrespectful" the fact that matters discussed in selection meetings are leaked and reported in the media. India's selectors chose Irfan Pathan over RP Singh for the next two ODIs against England, and reports of a serious disagreement over the choice cast a cloud over India's preparations for the fourth ODI against England in Bangalore.

"I don't know where the report came from. What happens inside a meeting where the selectors, the captain and the coaches are there, when it comes out it is disgusting and disrespectful," Dhoni said, after India's training session at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. "Things like this should not be happening. I'm not saying something happened at the meeting, but over the years we have seen things being leaked from meetings."

The Kolkata-based Anandabazar Patrika reported on Saturday that Dhoni favoured the inclusion of RP in the squad for the next two ODIs, and offered to step down when the selectors insisted on replacing him with Pathan. The report said Shashank Manohar, the board president, had been informed of the argument.

BCCI officials, however, have denied the report. "I don't talk about selection meetings. In any case it is all rubbish," N Srinivisan, the board secretary, told Cricinfo.

"This is the pinnacle of the sport. We are selecting 15 guys for the Indian team," said Dhoni. "There will be debates inside, and that information should not be put out in the media. If it is meant to come out, then I can say we might as well have the whole meeting telecast live on television. Nobody knows what was discussed except the eight guys in the meeting. And only they know whether it's the truth or not."

Dhoni said he did not speak to the BCCI because he felt it was not important. In his view, matters of selection should be made public only by the BCCI, the chairman of selectors, or one of the individuals on the selection panel. "We have an important match coming up, and we chose instead to focus on that match," he said. "This is a selection thing and personally I don't discuss anything outside. To some extent it does distract us. The good part is that we trust each other - every player in the team trusts the other."

Dhoni pledged his support to both RP and Pathan, who he said had faith in his abilities. "There might be a scenario where all of a sudden we might want to get in touch with RP Singh and Irfan Pathan. And you don't want RP to feel that I will go out of the way and stand and defend him and Irfan should not feel I don't want him in the team. I will stand and defend both these players and both of them trust me. My talks with them went off well."

"We do not have players in this team with outstanding talent, which can win every game. But as a team we are outstanding. So for us the mantra is being a team, and these things will not break the trust we have in each other. It's important for us to be a team."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ajanthan on November 25, 2008, 6:42 GMT

    The simplest solution I can think of is to reduce the number of selection meetings so that if at all anything leaks, its reduced. I don't understand the rational behind why a team cannot be selcted at once for the whole series. Its very short-termism that selectors canot think long-term atleast for the whole series at once. Multiple selection meetings for one series keeps the captain, the players, pulic and the media unsure of the future. A palyer needs to feel confident he has the whole series to experience himself wit the challenge, a doubt whether he will exsist after the first 2 games will only demotivate him.

  • biju on November 24, 2008, 8:51 GMT

    If one of the selectors has leaked out the information, he should be sacked with immediate effect.He will not be suitable for that job for sure if he is unable to keep highly confidential decisions in his mind.He is a cancer in the system and before it is spread to others please Bcci should sack him.

  • Ajay on November 24, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    I respect Dhoni as captain of Indian Cricket Team. R P Singh was preferred to Irfan Pathan eventhough he did not perform well in domestic cricket.On other hand Pathan has improved his performance in domestic cricket and also selectors should keep in mind he has good record in ODI and Test Cricket. This is clear case of regionalism which should not interfere while selecting National team

  • Jas on November 23, 2008, 15:13 GMT

    Dhoni is a great captain but I don't know why he said the team does not have players with outstanding talent, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Yuvraj etc are among the most talented in the world easily.

  • SRINI on November 23, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    A free media is welcome in a democracy like India. The flip side is when media sensationalize an issue. It does bcz it sees that its patrons react and make it big. If the cricket followers do not fall into this trap the 'sensational' reporting would soon become rare.

    Cricket lovers should understand captains and selectors are human beings and would have their pet theories and preferences. To smell conspiracy and favoritism in each of their selections would make these men even more cagey and economical with truth.

    Once you have entrusted a job to a group let them do their job. Accept there would be errors and some preferences. That would happen with any set of persons.

    Relax, this is just a game in the end!!!

  • arun on November 23, 2008, 12:45 GMT

    Does Dhoni as Captain have a vote in selection committee meetings or is he only an observer? What he definitely does not have is a veto. However, he should refuse to attend any furher meetings until the source of the leak is identified and dismissed. A selection committee is like an appraisal review and there are always tough decisions to take. Whoever is left out is bound to be disappointed. Unless all members of the committee are assured that the proceedings remain confidential, they will not voice their honest opinions and act without fear or favour, which at times may mean tossing out friends.

    The source of the leak should be sacked and if he cannot be identified, the entire committee should be dismissed and a new committee constituted.

  • Narasimhan on November 23, 2008, 8:25 GMT

    The leaks from such important meetings shall be severely punished and the magazine/media agency brought under certain discipline to protect decency and ethics. Readers get carried away reading such news items which prompt the journalists to indulge in more such prodding from so called 'unconfirmed sources'. People who actually perform and deliver seldom engage themselves in such cheap behaviour. Speculative journalism shall be shown its due place in the society. The media that promote such practices shall be viewed with suspect by readers who care for code of conduct, decency and decor.

  • shounak on November 23, 2008, 7:28 GMT

    Dhoni has time and again showed a calm and rational cricketing mind as well as that of a fantastic strategian and a respected leader. If he is the poster boy of $1 billion dollar enterprise called the BCCI then he deserves like any other corporate leader to have a say in his own team. His last comment about not having outstanding players but as a unit an outstanding team is fitting. A team is chosen with a definate strategy n definately the captain knows best.Zaheer has bowled his heart out in da last 2 monhts, Ishant is nursing an injury, dont we need a genuine bowler like R.P. now, and if he was included earlier, y is he being taken off now based on 2 performances?Its high time that the credentials of the selectors be reaffirmed if they are to be given all encompassing power to override the decisions of the captain of the playing eleven. None of these present so called selectors boast of amazing on field heriocs especially not as captains of the national test or ODI side.

  • Faraz on November 23, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    Well, we probably know why Irfan Pathan has been in out of the squad off late, he's just not got the long and consistent run. While RP Singh has been in the Test and ODI squad. Despite being mediocre, and out of form even in the Irani Trophy game, he found a place in Test Squad against the Aussies. RP Singh deserves to be dropped.

  • Madhavan on November 23, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    Selectors should certainly consult the captain in selecting the squad because he is the one who is going to lead them on field. But at the same time I don't know why Dhoni is giving so much importance to RP. He is out of touch and needs to play some domestic cricket to regain his form. But we can only get to know whether it's a right move after watching Irfan's performance.

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