India news January 5, 2016

Former India selectors question Lodha proposals on selection


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Chopra: Three-man selection panel will be a challenge

Pruning the national selection committee from five to three, as the Lodha report has recommended, would be a bad idea given the size of the country and the number of first-class teams involved. That's the opinion of three former selectors - Dilip Vengsarkar, Kiran More and Sanjay Jagdale - who say that the increased workload cannot be offset by the proposed Talent Committee that will do the basic scouting.

One of the key reforms proposed by the Lodha committee, which submitted its various recommendations on Monday, was to limit the selection panel to three former players, all Test cricketers, retired at least five years prior to their appointment. According to the Lodha committee, a Talent Committee would facilitate the national selectors, reduce their workload and effectively "increase the authority" of the panel.

But all the former selectors ESPNcricinfo spoke to disagreed. "India is such a vast country. At the moment the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy [the domestic Twenty20 tournament] is taking place across four venues. Suppose there are three selectors, then how many games can they watch?" More, the former Indian wicketkeeper, said. According to More, it would not be the right decision to adopt the same structure that is in place in countries like Australia, which have only a handful of first-class teams.

More felt at least four selectors are required, but he was happy to have the four best men from around the country chosen instead of zonal representation, which has been the norm for long and opens up the possibility of nepotism.

Former Madhya Pradesh allrounder Jagdale, who served two terms as a national selector between 2000 and 2008 as part two selection panels, said that the five-man panel was a "proven formula", so why change that now.

Former India captain Vengsarkar said he would stick to five-selectors policy. "The game has spread even to the small cities. The BCCI is sending grants to every association and they in turn are creating the infrastructure to encourage youngsters to play the game. So the player pool has increased now," Vengsarkar, who is now the director of the National Cricket Academy, said. He pointed out the proposed Talent Committee has already been put in place by the BCCI, with the plan to appoint 30 talent and research development officers (TRDOs) comprising three scouts at the Under-16 and Under-19 levels each, across the five zones.

Asked whether three selectors would not be enough, given the 30 scouts on the junior circuit providing feedback, Vengsarkar felt more is still better. "It always helps to have more views and opinions on a particular selection at times," he said.

According to More, relying on talent scouts was never enough. "Recommendations are fine. But you have to see the player yourself, you have to study the conditions. One guy could score a century but a on a pata (flat) wicket whereas another batsman might score 50 on a difficult wicket."

As for the proposal on the panel comprising only Test players, Vengsarkar and More differed. More preferred a mix, keeping in the mind the importance of limited-overs cricket and how it would not be correct to ignore former players who might have been good in the shorter formats but missed out on playing Tests. Vengsarkar felt if a player had dealt with the rigours of Test cricket successfully, he could easily adapt his thinking to the shorter formats even if he might never had played or excelled at them.

Jagdale did not want to comment whether having a Test cap was an important prerequisite for being a selector. "It would not be fair for me to say anything," he said. "I was a non-Test playing selector for such a long period."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ross on January 12, 2016, 9:15 GMT

    I wonder if the Indian selectors ever watch videos of overseas players and select the best team most of the time some of the players are wanting how can you select bubaneshwar kumar as a fast bowler there are school boys who bowl faster than him and I have never seen him perform well I am watching the current match between AUS and India the bowling attack is wanting the feilding is disgraceful when a team tours AUS one should remember that you need fast bowlers you have two fast bowlers Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav why is Aaron not playing I have noticed that you guys keep insisting on dropping Aaron what a joke India can never become a strong cricketing nation if this sort of selection persists wake up and have some pride in the country and do the right thing and make India a proud cricketing nation and if I may add I think Dhonis capatincy is disgraceful

  • S on January 8, 2016, 23:48 GMT

    Instead of reducing the size of the committee, can we make zonal tournaments (Duleep and Deodhar) as the basis for Indian team selection? These tournaments are played between the domestic players of highest quality in evenly matched sides (unlike lopsided affairs like Mumbai vs Tripura). KL Rahul is the best example for this - scored two quickfire tons in Duleep final, got selected for Aus tour and hit a century there. Zonal tournaments should run longer than the regular ones, IMO. Talent scouts are also very important as I doubt the selectors actually watch all domestic games personally. Remember, Dhoni was also first spotted by a TRDO.

  • John on January 7, 2016, 23:44 GMT

    Blaming the captain is common in every game, and cricket is no exception. Here I see a number of comments against Dhoni, and I think it is unfair to blame him for all of India's cricket problems. In the recent history of lindane cricket, India had good captains. It is interesting to read the history of Indian cricket and find some of the facts about captains. Vizzy (maharajkumar of Vijayanagaram) who led tha Indian team to England in 1934 was an average club player who did not have the skills. Maharajah of Porbandar captained the Indian team to England on the second tour. He was a better player, but not good enough for the Indian team, so he let his vice captain CK Nayudu captain the team for the tests. Even though he was a highly respected figure in Indian Cricket, I have read comments about him from players that he was an unpopular captain. He was against players drinking water. He did not allow players to leave the field for injuries, and wanted them to continue playing.

  • sunil on January 7, 2016, 13:13 GMT

    very well said has become a fashion to blame dhoni for any and everything...very unfair really...he has built a fantastic team from scratch....

  • Chetan on January 5, 2016, 17:17 GMT

    3 selectors would effectively eliminate the biggest problem with Indian cricket - zonal quotas.

  • Chetan on January 5, 2016, 17:11 GMT

    @yoohoo it was a combination of Dravid

  • R on January 5, 2016, 16:33 GMT

    The main question relates to whether the selectors should represent a zone or be free to select the best talent. We have had instances where a strong selector pushed for players from his zone overlooking claims of better players from other zones.

  • Sreekanth on January 5, 2016, 14:47 GMT

    @SNGOMES - You keep blaming dhoni, and yet even after he has left the people who are selected in the test team are the same like jadeja, ishant, rohit, dhawan, vijay etc. what does this mean? they were the best available at that time. Dhoni had to practically build the team from scratch after all the seniors left the team at the same time (they are the cause for 8-0, not dhoni).

  • John on January 5, 2016, 14:32 GMT

    Indian cricket has a lot of problems, but it can never be solved by outsiders who do not understand the game well. The legal system can only solve legal problems to make the game better, but selection of the team must be left to the professionals.

  • Manika on January 5, 2016, 14:28 GMT

    Players are so right. This committee has done a poor work. BCCI is doing great already. We need zonal selectors and also we can not have 1 team per state. That was really funny suggestion. BCCI must be careful before implementing these controversial suggestions. Another funny decision was to give power to one CEO to select coach and all , how can you give such a power to any one person.

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