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Working committee recommends paid selectors

In a move towards professionalising the selection set-up in India, the BCCI working committee has proposed several changes to the existing system.

The most important recommendation is to scrap the existing honorary set-up, and pay each selector Rs 25 lakh per annum (approx. US$ 57,700). The working committee also proposed that a former player should have retired from international cricket at least ten years ago to qualify for the selector's job, and that he should not be an office-bearer of the BCCI or any of its affiliated units. All proposals, though, are subject to ratification at the board's annual general meeting (AGM) on September 27 and 28 in Mumbai.

Currently, selectors are chosen on an honorary basis and only get a travel and dearness allowance, while many of them are also office bearers of the BCCI or other affiliated bodies. Explaining the rationale behind the proposal that former players be retired for at least ten years, Rajiv Shukla, one of the BCCI vice-presidents, said: "We do not want a player to become a selector as soon he retires. We don't want them to be biased as they are the contemporaries [of players who might still be in the team]."

Applying these criteria to the present batch of selectors only one member, Bhupinder Singh, qualifies for the new panel. Dilip Vengsarkar, the present chairman of selectors, is the vice-president of the Mumbai Cricket Association; Ranjib Biswal, the East Zone selector, is president of the Orissa Cricket Association; Venkatapathy Raju, the South Zone member on the panel, played his final international game in India's historic triumph against Australia in 2001 at the Eden Gardens; and Sanjay Jagdale holds the secretary's post at the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association. He has also served for seven years on the national selection panel and can't be nominated once again as a representative from the Central Zone.

Only Bhupinder, who played three one-dayers in the 1990s, is eligible to serve another term on the national panel but that will happen if his zonal committee, North, nominates him as the representative for another term.

The selectors, though, weren't perturbed by these proposals. One of the members on the panel, which met minutes after the working committee meeting ended to pick the India A squad for the first two matches of the home series against Australia A, said: "This is just a proposal which needs to be discussed again and ratified at the AGM."

If the new norms do get ratified next month, an almost new-look selection panel will pick the squad for the Test series against Australia, which starts in October.

Recommendations for junior selection committee (Men)

  • Only those who have played for India, or those who have played more than 25 first-class matches, will be considered for appointment.

  • Only those who have retired from first-class cricket at least five years ago will be considered.

  • The selector will be paid an annual honorarium of Rs 15 lakhs (US$ 34,618).

  • The selector will not be an office-bearer of the BCCI or any of its affiliated units.

Recommendations for selection committee (Women)

  • Only those who have played for India, or those who have played more than 25 first-class matches, will be considered for appointment.

  • Only those who have retired from first-class cricket at least five years ago will be considered.

  • The selector will be paid an annual honorarium of Rs 5 lakhs (US$ 11,540).

  • The selector will not be an office-bearer of the BCCI or any of its affiliated units

Monthy gratis scheme for women cricketers: Those who have played ten or more Tests will receive Rs 15,000 per month, and those who have played five-nine Tests will receive Rs 10,000 per month. The board has also decided to extend the monthly gratis scheme to the widows of Test umpires, as is being done presently in the case of the widows of deceased Test cricketers.
Extending a helping hand to other sports: BCCI will contribute Rs 50 crore (US$ 11,539,350) to the National Sports Development Fund to participate in the development and promotion of other sports. Individual cash prizes announced for Abhinav Bindra (Shooting): Rs. 25 lakhs; Sushil Kumar (Wrestling): Rs. 10 lakhs (US$ 23,000); Vijender Kumar (Boxing): Rs. 10 lakhs.

  • BCCI will set up a cricket academy for youngsters in the north-eastern states.