Sidharth Monga
Assistant editor, ESPNcricinfo

How can India's selectors be trusted?

How do we begin to evaluate their judgement in taking punts on players if we are forever confronted with the elementary errors they persist in making?

Sidharth Monga

September 28, 2011

Comments: 64 | Text size: A | A

Virender Sehwag experiences some discomfort in his shoulder, England v India, 4th Test, The Oval, 4th day, August 21, 2011
It is no sin to pick half-fit players; the real sin is picking unbalanced sides © Associated Press
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John Buchanan's success with Australia is often credited to his being at the right place at the right time. He seems to have lost that sense of time and place ever since he finished with that world-beating side. When he came up with his idea of revolving captains in Twenty20 cricket, he couldn't have chosen a place more unsuitable for the experiment than Kolkata, given their unconditional love for Sourav Ganguly. Working with New Zealand now, Buchanan has put forth the concept of an administrative selection manager, a man who will maintain a record of players' statistics, fitness, availability and suchlike. Sorry Buck, wrong place again: if any national team needs such an administrative selection manager it is India, not New Zealand.

Consider last week's selection of the Rest of India squad for the Irani Cup. The BCCI release included a "B Suval" as one of the men to play the Ranji champions, Rajasthan. It left those who like to think they know domestic cricket scratching their heads. Forty-three minutes later, the next BCCI release revealed B Suval was actually the Delhi left-arm quick Pawan Suyal, who took 22 first-class wickets at 23.81 in the season gone by. However, 24 hours earlier, a Champions League Twenty20 release had said that Suyal was one of many injured Mumbai Indians players (which spate of injuries had resulted in the team being allowed the use of five overseas players). Suyal himself said he expected to be match-fit only in December.

The BCCI's email correcting the spelling of Suyal's name also mentioned that Jharkhand batsman Ishank Jaggi, originally included in the squad, was now excluded because of an injury. Jaggi's state association said he was fit and had been practising with the state team in their pre-Ranji camp. The selectors thought he was unfit because the NCA physio had reported to them that he needed surgery. The Jharkhand Cricket Association told the Indian Express that the said physio failed to get Jaggi an appointment with the surgeon, Andrew Wallace, and that the BCCI-appointed doctor, Anant Joshi, later advised that Jaggi no longer needed surgery. Jaggi wasn't given a fitness test before the selection and the non-selection.

Had this been a first, it could actually have been funny - in a dark way, of course, coming as it does on the heels of a tour marred by injury. Kris Srikkanth and friends, though, come with a rich history of similar fiascos, which suggests they have serious trouble with basic mathematics, and lack both the courtesy of making telephone calls to check on talent, as well as proactiveness when somebody gets injured during a big series. Since most of them have earned an extension to their terms recently, their shortcomings are worth reiterating.

In February 2010, India began the defence of their No. 1 ranking with a Test against South Africa in Nagpur. Rahul Dravid was injured, VVS Laxman half-fit, recovering from a thumb injury. The 15-man squad for that Test included four fast bowlers, three spinners, two wicketkeepers and just six specialist batsmen, one of whom was the half-fit Laxman. Thankfully the Board President's XI was playing in the same city, and Rohit Sharma was belatedly asked to stay back. However, it wouldn't have been fair if the selectors had got away that easy. On the morning of the match Rohit injured himself, and Wriddhiman Saha debuted without a specific role in the side: not a batsman, not a bowler, not a wicketkeeper.

After that disastrous Test, Srikkanth, who as a rule doesn't discuss selection matters with the press, made an appearance on CNN-IBN, the TV channel for whom he used to serve as a cricket expert, and said, "As the chairman of the selection panel, I am willing to own up responsibility. It's a lesson learnt, and from now on we will not select players who are not 100% fit... The whole thing would not have blown up had Rohit played." The channel omitted to ask him why only six batsmen were picked in the squad, especially when one of them was not fully fit.

An example of more insincere "owning up" will be hard to find. The selectors had not learned a lesson from having picked a half-fit Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan for the 2009 World Twenty20, nor did the Nagpur goof-up stop them from sending a 16-man ODI squad to Zimbabwe, which included four specialist batsmen and a pair each of allrounders and wicketkeepers - Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja, and Naman Ojha and Dinesh Karthik - of whom only one each fits in an ideal ODI line-up.

It is no sin to pick half-fit players; doing so can be regarded as taking a punt, acting on a selectorial hunch. The real sin is picking unbalanced sides, which Srikkanth has never owned up to doing. Given that his panel has got an extension, and that the selectors are barred from talking to the press, it is unlikely he has ever been held accountable.

It was a punt that sent Zaheer and Sehwag on the recent England tour. However, even though they learned Sehwag wouldn't be available for the first two Tests, the selectors sent only two openers, one an untested rookie, to the most testing place for openers. There was no cover for injury or the potential failure of the newcomer. Consequently Rahul Dravid had to open in the second Test.

 
 
No longer is the post of selector an honorary one. They aren't now the unpaid and generous former cricketers who "do this for the good of the game". This committee is paid, and paid well
 

When Zaheer broke down on the first day of the series, Andrew Flintoff tweeted, "If Zaheer doesn't come back on there goes the number 1 spot!" Sitting in Dubai, Flintoff knew just how much Zaheer's absence could hurt India. You can't blame the selectors for Zaheer's breakdown, but you would have expected them to immediately get on the phone with the team physio, and to keep calling him every day for fitness updates; and to have arranged to send a replacement over at the earliest if Zaheer was found not able to play again.

As it turned out Zaheer didn't return in the Test series, but the selectors picked him for the limited-overs leg of the tour. Only to be told the following day that Zaheer's injury was so serious that he would be out of action for 16 weeks. Consequently the replacement bowler, RP Singh, had to cut short his vacation in Miami and go through an embarrassing return to Test cricket - a return that will be counted against him in future selections. Now unless the team management was fiercely secretive about Zaheer's fitness, the selectors had no excuse for finding out the extent of the injury virtually through a media release.

If Saha and RP Singh are unwitting villains, Srikkanth's own son, Anirudha, hasn't had the best of deals either. Just before the England tour, India sent a team to Australia for the Emerging Players Tournament, which ceased being a one-day event this year. The format change was not only communicated to but also formally approved by the participating teams, but the selectors picked Anirudha, who though a decent one-day and Twenty20 batsman, struggles to find a place in the Tamil Nadu first-class side. Had the selectors done their homework, Srikkanth would have been spared the charges of nepotism that followed. And at least Anirudha wouldn't have been unnecessarily drawn into it all.

Not long ago, none of these basic blunders was out of place in Indian cricket. Cricketers have made international trips by virtue of having a name similar to that of a more deserving player. No longer, though, is the post of selector an honorary one. They aren't the unpaid and generous former cricketers who "do this for the good of the game". This committee is paid, and paid well.

The new BCCI secretary and convenor of selectors, Sanjay Jagdale, however, doesn't think that's enough to warrant professionalism. "We have the main players on our database, but we are not aware of injuries to every single first-class cricketer in the country," he told the Indian Express. It doesn't need repeating that the selectors were not aware of the extent of Zaheer's injuries - hardly somebody you would dismiss as one of "every single first-class cricketer in the country" - when he was selected for the ODIs in England.

All of these are just the tangible failures of this committee. The other set of criticisms is more subjective. To ask them, among other things, how Jaydev Unadkat was given a Test debut before Praveen Kumar, or why they keep turning to Dravid at the first sight of trouble in ODIs, or why they play musical chairs with Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha, or why they never thought of Murali Kartik if neither back-up spinner was worth a decent run, or why their decisions lack foresight, direction and continuity, is to pit your judgement against theirs.

Selection is largely about judgement. It involves making calls about quality, and requires keen, unbiased eyes that can spot talent, and intuition and experience that help spot future stars from the way they hold the bat - or, at times, despite the way they hold the bat. You must account also for tugs of war between the selectors and team management. You would want to trust these former cricketers with those intangible calls, you'd give them elbow room for mistakes. But given their track record for basic negligence, can you?

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (October 1, 2011, 13:42 GMT)

The selection meetings should be telecast live (or at-least an edited version) for transparency in the procedure !! I think the selection committee is doing a fair job, but replacement players should be match ready and are taking too long time to join the team !!

Posted by Gilliana on (September 30, 2011, 12:21 GMT)

I think Srikant did a terrific job and those he selected to go to England were the best available. I feel the Indian XI should have been sacked instead of Srikant,

Posted by Ranjan_PVCC on (September 30, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

"...especially when one of them was not fully fit. " ...should actually read... "...when none of them were 100% fit." That's just poor English, Sidharth. You have to do better than that if you are the assistant editor of a pretty popular on-line cricket journal. I know my comment will never see the light of day, but this is something for you ponder about. Its a big responsibility and I'm not sure you have the expertise to execute it properly.

Posted by   on (September 29, 2011, 12:18 GMT)

WHERE IS MURALI KARTIK? AT LAST SIDDHARTH MONGA IS TALKING. Someone mentioning Murali Kartik at last.

Posted by DINESHCC on (September 29, 2011, 11:27 GMT)

COME ON GUYS. PLEASE TALK WITH SOME SENSE. WHERE YOU PEOPLE WERE HIDING WHEN INDIA WON THE WC 2011 AND ACHIEVED No.1 STATUS IN TESTS? IF SRIKKANTH IS THE ONLY REASON FOR INDIA'S FAILURE IN ENGLAND, HE CAN CLAIM THAT HE IS REPONSIBLE FOR INDIA'S SERIES WIN OVER AUS, SL, NZ, ENGLAND (IN INDIA), AND WI AND DRAWN SERIES IN SA AND SL. PEOPLE CAN ACCEPT PAWAR AS THE PRESIDENT AND VENGSARKAR AS CHIEF SELECTOR. IN THE CASE OF SRINIVASAN AND SRIKKANT, PEOPLE COULD NOT DIGEST AND TALK ABOUT SAMBAR AND IDLY. THE GREATEST SIN COMMITTED BY SRIKKANTH IS HIS ACCEPTANCE FOR HEADING THE SELECTION COMMITTEE. LET HIM CONTINUE AS PITCH COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN. THAT IS GOOD FOR HIM AND ALSO FOR THE ENTIRE UNFORTUNATE TAMIL COMMUNITY.

Posted by Chetan007 on (September 29, 2011, 10:21 GMT)

Selectors can be trusted on being consistence on selecting semi-fit player, injured player, none deserving player like Vijay and Vinay. They can be trusted for doing the same mistake again and again. Some selectors used to tell this player is not consistent but really selectors are very consistent especially Kris Srikkanth. Hats off for Kris Srikkanth. He had great things for TN players. Even if he is out from selection panel. No matters. Most TN player may not be included after his time out. But they will surely get good amount playing IPL. Since their market value increases playing for India. Now they can be put in action. Otherwise they will have been bought within 20-30 lakhs by some IPL team. Kris Srikkanth is a legend for TN and always remain. No matter what happens to Indian cricket. TN player will always shine.

Posted by Chetan007 on (September 29, 2011, 10:11 GMT)

Kris Srikkanth is just wanted all the TN players to either play for India or just to increase their IPL value even if they don't perform. none of the TN player deserve to be in the Indian side mostly looking to their technique. Rahul Sharma is the one spinner we have now whose bowling suits him more in foreign condition. After him Ashwin, than Ojha and Mishra. But the most experienced Bhajji needs support from one side. he is the one building pressure from one side but the other side is leaking runs. I agree Praveen is the most deserving bowler to be included in the side before mithun, unadkat. One useless bowler now in the team is Vinay Kumar. I don't understand why he is being selected continuously. He neither has pace nor swing(very less). Rahane was also deserved to be in team 2-3 years back. Give some proper chance to youngsters like SS Tiwari, M Tiwari, Varun, Rahul, etc. Not just select and drop out.See the situatio M Tiwari being selected each time. He has the potential.

Posted by Haleos on (September 29, 2011, 9:48 GMT)

@gdalvi - +1. Atlast someone has said what I have felt all along. Nothing against tamils but there is a clear bias here. And vengsarkar did that too when he was the chief. played lousy Jaffer in ODIs because he plays for her Elf academy.

Posted by deepak_sholapurkar on (September 29, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

I am having one suggestion this will help the BCCI to save the money(earn the money too) Out of 15 member team's about 10, will have permanent positions. So they can be picked automatically. For remaining 5 and anyone who gets injured in first 10, we can have a computer(Or Parrot can also be used) to pick randomly names(from list of first class players).

Advantages 1)As machine(Bird) will be picking the names so no complain of bias 2)Poor BCCI can save some money.(Selectors salary/Perks) 3)No effect on team performance( Seriously I believe selectors internally use some random number generator

to pick the players) 4)This event of picking players can be sold to television Channels. That will help in earning some money to BCCI.

In fututue if GOI(Government Of India) allows lottery like scheme can be created out of this. (BCCI is having expertise in this) 5) This can become more interesting than the 20-20 cricket (Examlple CL 20-20)

Thanks & Regards, Deepak

Posted by Haleos on (September 29, 2011, 7:06 GMT)

Very well written Sid. Shrikanth should have gone. He is useless. I reckon he wont go for good many years as The board is tighly tied with TN. Srinivasan being the owner of CSK. We will keep seeing less than average players play for the country unfortunately.

Posted by natmastak_so-called on (September 29, 2011, 5:26 GMT)

fitness records must be made compulsory,at least for the boards those proclaim themselves to be professional.

Posted by shrastogi on (September 29, 2011, 4:59 GMT)

The article is spot on. There is absolutely no professionalism in team selection which requires a bout of transparency. You select any rubbish and then hope that everything would be alright. Team selection in WC was very poor but some stupendous luck (like Tendulkar being dropped 4-5 times in SF, a tie in almost lost game against England) helped Indian team go all the way. The self promotion of Dhoni in final when otherwise he is such a reluctant bat at top of the order was also a stroke of luck or genious of a strategy. Against England they ran out of luck and the result is there for everyone to see. Hopefully some lessons are learnt and a sensible team with standbyes would be named for series against England.

Posted by gdalvi on (September 29, 2011, 3:02 GMT)

Can't believe ppl are actually praising selectors for Rahane's selection!!! Rahane with FC avg of 68 should have played tests and ODI long before Raina, Kohli, M.Vijay, Badri and Mukund, who have at least 6 pts lower average. Srinivasan and Srikanth have determined to make India team fully of CSK and Tamils. Why else last 3 players would be selected ahead of Rahane? In WI tour, I was shocked tha ODI Man-of-Series Rohit Sharma, who has FC avg of 60 was not retained for tests. Instead new Tamil faces (Mukund and Badri and even Vijay) with little international experience where praised as next trio of Indian batsmen. I think its high time rest of India take stern notice of this Tamilocracy shown by Srinivasan/Srikant and get the game back to all India.

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (September 29, 2011, 0:47 GMT)

I am entirely agree with Praveen Kumar case, he was very well deserved candidate well before likes of I Sharma / R P Singh / Jaidev and more. Similarly Vinay Kumar deserved Test chances well before One day or T20.....India should try and look for APPROPRIATE fast bowlers for all formats separately on TOP priority than anything else....

Posted by madscientist001 on (September 29, 2011, 0:01 GMT)

What does the selectors have against Murali Karthik?

Posted by FR3AKX on (September 28, 2011, 21:29 GMT)

The selectors should own up the responsibility of the white wash equally as the players who didn't perform. I was really hoping that atleast a few of them (players and selectors) would have the dignity to retire after such an embarassment and let the new generation come and take their chances and grow in the process. We need guys like Rahane (one good thing that happened on the enitre tour) coming in and playing freely without the pressure from seniors/ selectors. I know getting back on top is not gonna be easy or quick but as long as we are in the process of building a strong and well balanced team in the long-term its all worth it!! Go India.

Posted by Nampally on (September 28, 2011, 19:36 GMT)

Sidharth: You ask "How Can the India's Seklectors be trusted? The answer is they cannot be trusted with the team selection- based on the results of the England tour.How can they be trusted for the forthcoming series is anybody's guess.When the players are being selected even without knowing their names, how much faith do you place in their capability. Srikanth & co had a standard list so far. But with the list of injured players =10, they do not know who to select.Of the 3 leg spinners, Rahul Sharma was the best suited for the ODI's. Why was he omitted? When bowling leaks 8 runs/over, have tight bowlers like Ojha, Rahul Sharma & Kumar @ 4 runs/over. Which ever side scores more is the Winner. If your bowling can bowl at < 4 runs/over, India has batting to score 200 runs & win. That is the bottom line - economy in bowling & fielding.These selectors could not even think this much. What will they do next against this England team weak & inexperienced against leg spin as proven by WI?.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (September 28, 2011, 19:23 GMT)

Sidharth, you are spot on! I hope the Indian selectors read this article. RP Singh's selection for that Test was an absolute joke..not that he is a bad bowler..but he hadn't played a Test or a 4-day first-class match since ages. He was selected based on his 2007 England tour performance...with the same logic why not select Ajit Agarkar for the next Test against Australia? Afterall he bowled so well in that Adelaide Test in 2003-2004. With this selection committee I won't be surprised if they actually do that!

Posted by natmastak_so-called on (September 28, 2011, 19:18 GMT)

it is hard to believe,they are given extended terms,despite these horrendous decisions.

Posted by natmastak_so-called on (September 28, 2011, 19:12 GMT)

like Jimmy paaji famously said,selection committee is and likely to be a bunch of jokers.

Posted by palla.avinash on (September 28, 2011, 16:28 GMT)

my team gambir,partiv,rahane,kohli,raina,dhoni,jedeja,ashwin,amit mishra,praveen,nehra,Varun Aaron,rp singh,manoj tiwary.15th player rahul sharma,i would have taken dawal kulkarni into my team if he is not injured and ashok dinda and mayank agarwal would be my stand players,please post it cricinfo.

Posted by daalien on (September 28, 2011, 15:37 GMT)

This reminds me of that old joke when the Tampa Bay Bucs were playing badly. After a game, the press asked the coach: what did he think of the execution of the team? His response: He was all for it. I think this selection committee deserves nothing better; it is basically in a competition with Ijaz Butt and cronies to win the award for worst selection committees ever (not sure if the SL cricketing board is a late entry in the race or a sideshow to this). Maybe it is the Arabian Sea water which drives these selection boards to go eccentric and cuckoo in their reasoning (or lack thereof).

Posted by gazelle79 on (September 28, 2011, 14:24 GMT)

@kingcobra85 , when they do well , the selectors are appreciated . Its ironic , but BCCI gave the selectors a bonus after India won the WC . When Rahane was selected , the selectors were praised . We remember the Vengsarkar and More commitees for bringing in a few good faces . Whats important is finding out whether the selectors get more things right than wrong . The present commitee fails that test . I agree that the England series was not lost only because of the selectors . Some of the players didn't pull their weight as well , but these poor performances were compounded by the lack of adequate backup which is what the selectors are being blamed for .

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 13:50 GMT)

@kingcobra85 Completely agree with you. Another point to add. If it had been another selection committee Dravid would have been sacked, disgraced and forced to retire the way his form had been for the last 3 years till the South African tour. We all know what would have happened during the England tour if Dravid was not present. The selectors just aren't given enough credit for their positives.

Posted by Romenevans on (September 28, 2011, 13:38 GMT)

Talk about selecting a cricket team (Hopes and expectations of 1.21 Billion people), not about cooking Idli dosa and sambhar on the streets of "CHENNAI" </sarcasm ends!>

Posted by Nampally on (September 28, 2011, 13:35 GMT)

@whamsis: First of all there should be mandatory physical fitness program which should be undergone by each selected player. This would make the players more accountable for being physically fit.Also these contracted players if unfit, should lose their contract money for the year and their contracts should be cancelled till they prove their physical fitness.Every country has such a program - why not India? I fully agree that the present method for final team selection by Captain & Coach should be replaced by a 4 member players committee.Dhoni has blundered here.However the Selectors have been most inept.When they don't even know players names before picking the squad, does it not expose their incompetence? I follow Cricket closely from home on PC.I can pick a better team, 10 times out of 10 than the present selectors. I will pick a 20 men squad for England tour & arrive there 4 weeks ahead of the first game, train hard , be prepared mentally & physically. India never did this & Lost!.

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 13:21 GMT)

According to me, the team should be Virender Sehwag (if fit), Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Manoj Tiwari, Dinesh Karthik, M.S. Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Aroan, Mithun etc

Posted by Nampally on (September 28, 2011, 13:19 GMT)

A fine timely article, Sidharth.Even a keen clubhouse cricketer would make better Selector than this unprofessional & inept group headed by Srikanth. There is no logic in team selection.Sehwag, Tendulkar, Yuvraj & Zaheer did not have any physical fitness tests after their 3 monthslay off- recovering from injuries. Does India have any fitness testing program? How did these 4 guys get thru' it? WI did superb job with spinners against Eng. When A.Mishra was ineffective, Rahul Sharma & Ojha could have turned the tables on Eng.Y.Pathan was in the squad for WC & in WI. Why was he not sent as replacement? Dhoni makes the matter worse by picking a bone headed XI. There should be "4 player committee" to select final XI. Right now while England has announced its Squad, India has not- Why?.Select the team early, let them gel as a unit and pre-plan instead of moving round CLT20.These selectors have no tactics or specific roles for each player. How can a disjointed team WIN against organised teams?

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 12:54 GMT)

I think Irfan pathan should be in team because of his all-rounder skills an all-rounder can bat and bowl ... even Irfan is playing well in practice matces I seen recently ...selectors should be non bias mentality ..srikant specially biased type of person

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 12:46 GMT)

well said.... selection errors was one the main reason for losing no.1 spot in test .. krish does not deserve a place in selection committee

Posted by RaviParis on (September 28, 2011, 12:44 GMT)

The problem is no one will read this and learn lessons. It is a very Indian trend - the lack of professionalism and an obsession with detail. The Germans have it. Very few Indians have it.

Posted by SunsCricket on (September 28, 2011, 12:39 GMT)

I am disappointed to see Srikanth is retained again as Selector just because of his association with the new BCCI President through Chennai Super Kings. No doubt, Dhoni will be the most happy man for this.

Posted by IndranilChoudhury on (September 28, 2011, 11:48 GMT)

Brilliantly written. It would help if the likes of Kris Srikanth watched first class games as often as they sit through IPL and CL T-20 matches wearing fluorescent yellow jerseys.

Posted by whamsis on (September 28, 2011, 11:47 GMT)

Unfair on the selectors . Author's line of thought is inconsistent in the article and the criticism ranges from what could be a genuine case of error to dubious selections to selecting an un-balanced side.

Agree on the point that the selectors needs to pick a balanced side, but that is always a very situational call and finally the captain picks the XI. On the injury management , I think the onus is more on the players than the selector. We need players who have the courage to come out in open and say we are injured and keep us out of the equation. Sadly no one in Indian Cricket does that till the injury reaches the threshold limit. Blaming the selectors squarely for this is unreasonable, this is more a systemic failure.

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 11:18 GMT)

Thumbs Up!! For the very good Insight on the faulty selection policies!!!!Well the non-selection of murli kartik really baffles me a lot and i am of a opinion that Murli vijay is given chances more than required,why they are not calling Wasim Jaffar back???Even guys like Robin Uthappa,irfan pathan ,yusuf pathan shud be given more chances!!

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 10:46 GMT)

exceptionally written. I really think the selectors are not doing a good job. Saying all their selections to be baseless won't be good but still I am against many of the. Firstly, in that South African game, there were many youngsters who were being looked for in line for debut and no one was given a chance. And when Rohit had his injury and Saha made his debut, I was dumbstruck. Many other batsmen rather than Saha deserved debut more than him. Also the preference being given to Amit Mishra is baffling. Pragyan Ojha has performed very well in most of the chances he has got. And Amit Mishra hasnt been upto that standard at all. In England series, Ojha wasnt selected and he then showed his credentials by taking an 8wicket haul giving just 6 runs and taking 10 maidens. Sadly, the selectors wont have noticed that too. The way Ojha has been neglected is a cause of concern for India as well as the future of the talented spinner. Also the selection of Piyush Chawla in WC squad is an example..

Posted by aalkool on (September 28, 2011, 10:12 GMT)

If national selectors lack professionalism despite their pedigree, what hope do we have at the grass root level where talent is meant to be spotted and nurtured? I think this article is a step in the right direction. More pressure has to be applied on BCCI's office bearer's to make the right decisions. This whole 'privately-owned' arguement needs to be dismantled. After all, it is the spectators who have made cricket what it is. We pay the price for match tickets and cable tv charges. So while the performance on the day is out of control, all the other factors that can be controlled have to be questioned. BCCI have not produced cricket and cannot simply reap the rewards from it.

Posted by kingcobra85 on (September 28, 2011, 10:11 GMT)

@gazelle79 care to explain how only the negatives of Indian cricket is credited to selection committee and not the positives

Posted by mrcool on (September 28, 2011, 9:52 GMT)

very well written....But u didnt mentioned about irfan pathan and Robin uthappa..Robin uthappa helped winning us first t20 world cup..How he couldnt find place even in 30 probable list of 2 t20 world cup and world cup 2011..He was in good form..if consistency matters for selectors..how can Raina and rohit sharma get so many chances and not uthappa and irfan..There is something fishy and no one is questioning it..even after so many players gets injured,these two unable to find place in second string team also..someone should question this..

Posted by Manoj76 on (September 28, 2011, 9:46 GMT)

Selectors should pick players which has more than one utility in any format for e.g. Munaf Patel he can only bowl slow medium pacer he cannot bat nor he can field. Instead of them why not give players like IRFAN PATHAN more chance because he can bowl, bat and also he is brilliant fielder. So there are chances that he can contribute more. Players like Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Saurabh Tiwary, Manoj Tiwari, Varun Arun, Iqbal Abdullah, Buvneshwar K, Virat Kohli, Robin Utthapa, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav etc should get more chance either in India A or Indian Team becuase they are future of India. Why selectors are not thinking of future ....?.

There should be proper planning and Selectors should be able to justify the selection of players.

Posted by sweetspot on (September 28, 2011, 9:35 GMT)

@gazelle79 - Can't disagree. However, the great SA team with its pin point accuracy and preparation decided in its great wisdom to have 3 spinners since they were playing in India. Worked for a while, and then, they crashed out. They left Albie Morkel out, and that was criticized. England too were probably faultless with their WC judgment. What happened to them? They lost to Bangladesh and Ireland. Selectors can only do so much, and if India had won in England, that would also be despite selecting an unfit team. This is exactly the endless criticism that is pointless considering nobody can really predict how cricket will go. Any selection can take the shape of a gamble beyond a point. Factors beyond our control can also come into play. Like Sehwag getting stuck into a top class bowling attack that "found him out" two games ago. This is not a sport where outcome is directly proportional to any sort of effort. Just ask SA. Now, where is that next Lillee from UP?

Posted by AvidFanDownUnder on (September 28, 2011, 9:09 GMT)

An excellent article that highlights some glaring inefficiencies with the Indian selection process - India take note - this is not the end - you have a decent first class set up and enough talent so it's not impossible to make a return to the top.

Posted by dkverma on (September 28, 2011, 9:01 GMT)

Now it time for regain our strength in ODI side against ENGLAND but it again depends on fitness story..........

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 8:55 GMT)

Thanks cricinfo. Keep highlighting it. K srikanth and company need to be sacked. They don't deserve to be there. Forget about world cup. It doesn't selector's who provide such excellent squad, It was our luck that all players was fit for the tournament.

Posted by Rumy1 on (September 28, 2011, 8:23 GMT)

How about WASIM JAFFER being ignore again and again. Hope Mohinder Amarnath will bring some semplance in selection process and JAFFER will get a look in for Tests.

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

This article again outlines why India needs a Dhoni badly. Man management is something Indian cricket has never excelled at. Indian players are asked to work overtime as though they are working in some Indian call center with additional targets yielding bonuses or incentives. BCCI must understand that cricket does not work like that and the Indian cricketer is not BPO professionals to be stretched like this. Dhoni probably has happily married to the fact that the Indian cricketers are always playing and hence his primary job becomes to get the best out of whatever remains without taking any void headaches like 'Billion-expectations'. Its simple, if we win, good, if we loose, who cares... !! we are playing again tomorrow... !! to be frank any cricketer would have fallen given the schedule team India has this year... hence all credit to dhoni to have instilled this spirit in the team because of which they are at least on the field, forget their technical flaws and fitness issues... !

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 8:18 GMT)

Where is the like button?

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 8:13 GMT)

Here is the conundrum - a bunch of ex-cricketers (suitably qualified) need to pick players from say 50 in-form first class cricketers playing the Indian domestic circuit. Add to this 11 or so who are already playing intl cricket for India, some for years with or without great form. Now add the factors of fitness, injury, health,fatigue and players wanting a rest. Welcome to Srikkant & Co. world. Being a selector in India must be the hardest and easiest job amongst all nations. The Easy - pick established names along with one or two punts, they all do well, we win WC for eg. The Hard - the same team gets injured or plays badly, loses games (aka summer 2011) and the new replacements who tried hard are banished back to the wilderness. Anyone notice the emergence of Rahane in all this ? Who gets credit for that ? Agreed, selection can be more process orientated but lets not make it a vote. If you crimp their ability to take fair punts, you kill the selector's licence to pave the future.

Posted by gazelle79 on (September 28, 2011, 7:47 GMT)

@sweetspot , we won the WC DESPITE the selection committee , not BECAUSE of it . In that team , there were 13 obvious picks . The selectors only needed to find one more fast bowler and one spinner . They went for Sreesanth , which can't be faulted because he had done well just prior to that , and Chawla ! With all due respect to Chawla , he didn't have a single performance of note in the last year and still they went for him . When the WC proper started , he was soon exposed . However well the teams ( or selection commitees ) have done recently , they weren't perfect ; and the best teams are those which keep trying to improve . That means identifying each mistake and correcting them along with learning from them .

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 6:31 GMT)

Excellent article. Our current condition shows our selector's inability for team management.We have plenty of talents in the reserve...but we still goes on selecting according to someone's interests.... We should find a policy to groom specific players for specific jobs..like T20 openers/test openers/oneday specialists /test specialists etc etc. I have a general idea that a good test player can be a good Oneday/T20 player.. but not vice verse...And of course we should rotate players so that no mass injury/retirement hurts our team.Plan a retirement scheme for seniors..groom youngsters.. give them enough time.. encourage fast bowlers to bowl at their maximum speeds.. speed should come first.. line and length will follow naturally... players like varun aaron shlould be encouraged... I still can't understand why some people want Irfan in team....!! what had he done for claim an Indian cap..??? He was good in past.. not now.. neither speed nor swing...!!!

Posted by sweetspot on (September 28, 2011, 6:19 GMT)

Enough of this cursing and finding fault with every single setback. It is the same selection committee that delivered the Test #1 and WC to us thirsty Indian fans not too long ago. Anybody can get it wrong once in a while, but that shouldn't make the rest of us so wise in hindsight. India is now #3,4, or 5 in cricket and very capable of getting back to #1. But it is 119 in the Human Development Index. Which selection committee can we blame that one on? Our cricket matters are much much better than the rest of the nation. Let's enjoy that and be grateful.

Posted by romit006 on (September 28, 2011, 6:00 GMT)

Great Article. It appears that the selectors are used to having eggs on their faces all the time. The England tour provided an example of the fact that the Indian selectors donot learn from their repeated mistakes. Selection of Sewag, keeping Zaheer in the team and not naming a relacement for Gambhir till late in the tour are the most bizzare selection errors one could imagine in modern day sport. Kris Srikanth sums it all by saying it was a 'bad dream'. How prophetic! Please make Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly in charge of selection matters and let them have a call on which players should not play in the IPL.

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 5:44 GMT)

Brilliant article. Sums up all that has gone wrong in Indian cricket for the past 2-3 years. We became no1 in test cricket and won the world cup because of performances of our senior players. During Srikant's tenure none of the youngster has been given enough opportunities and so noone has been able to make a mark.

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 5:44 GMT)

Excellent piece, precisely what was going through my mind for some time. A subject that none of the so called experts like Harsha Bhogle, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, etc. touch in their columns. Reason? Srikanth is an old friend of them and they won't want to antagonize him, and hence the BCCI indirectly. It was a task that only Cricinfo could have done and i am glad that it's done sooner rather than later. As Jimmy rightly put "a bunch of jokers". I can't forget that Nagpur test. It was chaos all around and it was embarrassing to say the least.

Posted by Farce-Follower on (September 28, 2011, 5:27 GMT)

We know the conflict of interests that prompted his extension...the selectors can continue to behave like wild west cowboys and get away. The media in India is also thoroughly compromised. So no questions.

Posted by kingcobra85 on (September 28, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

@Sidharth Monga the entire article is based on assumption.As neither the press or any fans who what really goes on beyond the screens. Plus i also like to point out the lack of transparency from the Media should also be discussed.Some players are always in the spotlight but some of the other players are given a write down immediately after one bad tour or series.

So yes selectors are also humans like the people in the press and media they too will be biased sometimes

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 5:19 GMT)

I hope Cricinfo doesn't give up on this and keeps highlighting the mistakes or should I say "incompetency" of this selection panel. I don't know what are they doing. When all the players are fit, any genuine cricket follower can tell which 13-14 cricketers should be in the squad. The real task begins only when picking the last 1-2. And this selection panel has erred most of times there. How important these last 1-2 players are for the balance of the squad needs no emphasis. And when all players have not been fit, they have goofed up big time. This panel has either picked half fit players or done Nagpur-gates. Apart from the Jaggi and Suyal episodes that you have mentioned, another one is the selection of Anirudha Srikkanth for the emerging players tournament in Australia. The reason they gave was that the selectors were thinking that it is only a limited overs tournament. I mean how careless can you get. Or are you taking the cricket fan for a ride.

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 5:02 GMT)

India's brief stay at the TOP of Test cricket (thanks to BCCI's clout in getting more tests in India and thanks to Laxman) and the amazing run at the World Cup and Dhoni's Luck (which seems to have now deserted him) has covered up a lot of Basic mistakes by the selectors..Right from not taking care of Sehwag (he has missed so many Global tournaments), no line up of pace and spin bowlers and only a bunch of medium pacers and non spinners doing the job...No succession plan for the Tremendous Trio..No specialized players for T20 even though we have IPL...No help to Irfan and not able to get another fast bowling all rounder..over dependence on Jadeja..and the above mentioned issues...Hope to see an overhaul and a better team india soon..We deserve it

Posted by vibhavarms on (September 28, 2011, 4:44 GMT)

If ever a term eye-opener be used for any article on any issue in any context of the life ... then this is THE article .... Kudos to you Sid ......

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 4:18 GMT)

They cannot be trusted, simple as that. The success of the Indian team in the last few years is because of some outstanding cricketers who all came together. The success is despite the bumbling selectors who cannot take any credit for the success.

Posted by puneriMisal on (September 28, 2011, 4:15 GMT)

We have seen player management issues from the days of Srinath , if the bowlers would have being managed and rotated for thier work load even after Zaheer made his debut the selection committee would not have fallen flat on its face. Selectors should have alteast learned from England and Australia for fast bowling department. It is not that India does not have the talent , the real problem is player management which the board does not seem to learn. If it would have learnt they could have avoid the fiasco in England....

Posted by ArjunVS on (September 28, 2011, 4:07 GMT)

Well begun is said to be half done, and the beginning of it all is selection. The cricketing public knows that the selection panel is incompetent. I am please to see at last one correspondent who has the gumption to call a spade a spade and an incompetent just that. However, where are the other voices ? Why does the BCCI remain an autocracy ? Why is there a complete lack of accountability ? where is our pride, and why is there no shame. We were thrashed, we were humiliated, our nose was ground painfully in the turf, and we retain the buffoons that caused us this misery. We need an in depth and independent review ala Australia, and we need to have the strength of character to take it on the chin and implement changes. Till then, this is a slippery slope.

Posted by HatsforBats on (September 28, 2011, 4:02 GMT)

It sounds like selectors in India are just as bad as their Asutralian counterparts, though for different reasons. Nepotism or ineptitude are bad enough on their own, combine them and you get India's last tour of England. As for Buchanan's new idea for an "administrative selection manager"; isn't that called a selector? If selectors think that their job only entails sitting back with a beer, watching a few games and then picking the bloke that scored a few runs or took a couple of wickets then they need a wake up call.

Posted by   on (September 28, 2011, 3:05 GMT)

Another valid view to the Indian current fiasco .... hoping they get it right hereon...

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