Dheeraj "Who?" Jadhav
In order to make it plainly obvious that the BCCI's selection policies have been consistent, the selectors have picked Maharashtra's left-handed opening batsman, Dheeraj Jadhav
, as a replacement for Sachin Tendulkar, who will not be fit
in time for the tests against Zimbabwe. Tendulkar's elbow injury had already put him out of action for a while
but he was still provisionally named
in the Indian squad. His name also features prominently in the Rest of the World side
to take on Australia in the Super Series in October.
While we should no doubt be glad for Dheeraj Jadhav, there're a few issues associated with his selection:
- Why is an opening batsman replacing a middle order batsman?
- Dheeraj Jadhav barely made it in the top 25 run-getters list in the last Indian domestic season. Even if we skipped the names of the usual suspects such as Pagnis, Jaffer, Bangar, Muzumdar, Sriram etc. why isn't the middle order slot given to Venugopal Rao or Suresh Raina, who are already in Zimbabwe as part of the one-day side? That'd save the BCCI precious foreign exchange, which is apparently what they hoped to do with their scheduling during this tour where the Indian team continously finds itself on the day before a game at a venue other than where they're scheduled to play.
- Could it be that none of the prospective replacements for Tendulkar were from West Zone and thus the selectors had to pick the best available batsman from West Zone? Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that Dheeraj Jadhav made that many runs. Imagine if none of the West Zone batsman were good enough, the selectors would have picked someone like Kiran Powar, an off-spinner who can bat!
So where does the consistency angle come in? Well, this selection immediately made me think about the off-spinner Noel David's
selection for India's tour of the West Indies in 1996/7 as a replacement for the injured ... hold your breath ... Javagal Srinath. Then two years ago, Hyderabad batsman Vanka Pratap tried to explain Noel David's selection by alleging that money had changed hands
to ensure that David was picked. Of course, the fact that Noel David and Javagal Srinath were both from South Zone was a convenient aspect as well, which would no doubt have been considered. Vanka Pratap's statement came hot on the heels of Abhijit Kale's alleged bribe
to selectors Kiran More and Pranab Roy to get a spot in the Indian squad.
All this reeks of nepotism, favouritism and an utter lack of professionalism. Then again, did we expect better from an organization which didn't care for cricketers
? For more instances on the BCCI's approach to professionalism, just cast your mind to the television rights fiasco. Look
opaque the entire
process was and what eventually happened
But hang on, if you thought the BCCI was the only cricket board where selectors were picked on the basis of their regional representation, think again!
Tailpiece: Anand gets it spot on, but he really should have called his piece "The Great Indian Selection Circus"