Selection panel to be smaller, more empowered
If the reforms suggested by the Lodha Committee are put to practice, the selection of Indian teams and support staff will undergo big changes, giving more powers and responsibilities to the selectors, captains and the CEO. The captain will become an ex-officio member of the selection committee, which doesn't give him a vote but spells out that his view shall prevail when there is indecision among the selectors. The committee itself has been reduced to three members, and has also been entrusted - along with the CEO - with selecting the support staff of the national team. The squad selection will no longer have to be ratified by the board president.
The India captain right now is invited to selection-committee meetings, but does not hold a vote. The annexure of the report submitted by Lodha, describing the functions of the selection committee, says: "The men's selection committee shall appoint a captain for the team in each format, who shall be an ex-officio member of the committee. The captain, however shall not be entitled to vote. In the event of there being an equality of votes for the appointment of a captain, the chairperson shall have a casting vote. In the event of there being no majority agreement over the selection of players, the captain's wishes in that regard shall prevail."
Mohinder Amarnath, a former national selector, had alleged in 2012 that the selection committee wanted MS Dhoni removed as the ODI captain in 2012, but the then BCCI president N Srinivasan, also a managing director of India Cements, which owned Dhoni's IPL team, vetoed that selection until Dhoni retained his status. That kind of situation will not repeat itself should the recommendations be implemented.
India have been without a long-term coach or support staff for about a year now. The board officials have struggled to find replacements for Duncan Fletcher and team, and have extended the contracts of Ravi Shastri and team on an almost a series-by-series basis. They won't have to spend any more energy looking for the coach and support staff. The responsibility will, in all likelihood, be shared between the CEO and the selection committee.
One of the functions of the CEO, as per the annexure, is: "to appoint team officials for the Indian teams, which shall compulsorily include qualified coaches, managers, physiotherapists, nutritionists, trainers, analysts, counsellors and medics."
At the same time it gives the selection committee the responsibility of "vetting and selecting coaches and support staff (physiotherapists, trainers, therapists, analysts and medics) for the respective teams". There is more accountability expected of the selectors, which is one of the reasons why they have lost two of their colleagues. The selection committee, as it stands, consists of five members representing each zone. Now, with a suggestion of incorporating different talent-development committees for men, women, junior, zonal and differently abled categories, the Lodha Panel felt there was no need for a zonal-based five-member senior selection panel.
"Restricting the selectors to three members will also be more compact, and increase the authority of the selection committee, and make it accountable for team performance, the report said.
One of the added responsibilities of the selection committee will be to provide "evaluation reports of the respective team performances to the apex council on a quarterly basis."
The selectors will be appointed at the AGM based on terms and conditions decided by the apex council. The apex council will consist of five elected officials (president, secretary, vice president, joint secretary and treasurer), a male and a female players' representative, one representative of the state associations and the comptroller and auditor general of India.
The selectors will all have to be former Test players at least five years into retirement, and will be headed by the "senior-most Test cap among the members".
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo