Mohinder Amarnath, widely predicted to be the next chairman of selectors, has been dropped from the selection committee following its reconstitution on Thursday. Sandeep Patil, Amarnath's World Cup-winning team-mate, is the new chairman of selectors, and Vikram Rathour is his replacement from North Zone. Roger Binny from South Zone, Saba Karim from East Zone, and Rajinder Hans from Central Zone make up the rest of the committee.
The decision was taken at the BCCI's 83rd AGM in Mumbai.
Ever since Amarnath joined the committee last year, it was widely assumed that he would take over from outgoing chairman Kris Srikkanth, but there had been murmurs of a falling-out between Amarnath and the board.
One of the reasons believed to be behind Amarnath's ouster is his being a resident of Mumbai; state associations from North Zone were reported to be unhappy because it prevented him from spending enough time watching young cricketers in the North Zone.
The board chief, N Srinivasan, though, refused to divulge reasons for Amarnath's exclusion. He said that the contract of selectors is reviewed annually, and by no means was Amarnath assured a four-year term. "The term of the selector is maximum of four years, to be elected annually," Srinivasan said. "This is BCCI's decision, and that is not a subject of public discussion. The fact is, the BCCI possibly wanted a new-look selection committee, which is what they have [now]."
Patil's name was a bit of a surprise because former India quick Abey Kuruvilla was considered a certainty from the West Zone. Srinivasan said the board felt a need for a big name as the chairman. "We wanted a person of sufficient stature, a tall man. I think he fits that need." Patil played 29 Tests and 45 ODIs for India in the 1980s, and was a middle-order stalwart for Mumbai. He has also coached India, Kenya and Oman, and was most recently chairman of India's National Cricket Academy.
Srinivasan said Patil's name was not picked out of a hat overnight. "There is a process of consultation," he said. "We went through that consultation. It is not as if the process went on this morning only. The process has been on for some time. There has been extensive consultation among board members for some time."
For Patil this is a transfer from Bangalore, where he was the chairman of the National Cricket Academy. Also from Bangalore comes Binny, a medium-pace bowling allrounder, who was part of the 1983 World Cup-winning side. Karim kept wicket for India and Bihar. Punjab opener Rathour made it to the India side in the 1996-97 season. Hans is the only one on the committee without international experience. He bowled left-arm spin for Uttar Pradesh, and also coached them to a Ranji title.