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    December 07, 2007

    If it's a tour of Australia, there must be a selection controversy

    Almost exactly four years ago, just before the Indian team left for a tour of Australia, Abhijit Kale was banned by the BCCI for attempting to bribe selectors for a place in the national team (or was it an India A side?).

    This time around, with another tour of Australia coming up, another issue related to the selection committee has cropped up, this time it has to with the way Dilip Vengsarkar has been allegedly treated by BCCI administrators.

    Vengsarkar has been in the news for the past month or so since quite a few BCCI officials have taken umbrage at him writing columns, and earning a living from them. This apparently violates the board's policy. The board then went one step further, putting out a list of do's and don't's, all of which were essentially to press home the fact that the BCCI executives and administrators were the bosses and not the selectors.

    One of the directives, relating to being involved with player agents, is noteworthy, in that it seeks to eliminate any potential conflict of interest. Yet, it is also interesting to note that CricketNext reports that Niranjan Shah tried to get his son selected for an India A tour.

    Jaydev Shah scored 255 runs from 11 first-class innings, 40 from 4 list-A innings and 86 from 4 domestic Twenty20 innings last season. The season before that was equally pathetic. He isn't a bowler either. So there's no evidence to suggest that he deserved an India A spot.

    Clearly there's a conflict of interest here. The BCCI should ensure that none of its office bearers' sons/daughters/close relatives are playing for any of the first-class teams in India.

    Getting back to Vengsarkar, he then promptly shot off an email to Sharad Pawar, which obviously got leaked again, just like emails tend to when it comes to BCCI matters.

    The matter, at this point in time, seems to have been swept under the carpet. But I'm fairly sure Vengsarkar is just biding his time. BCCI officials have been very prompt in asking him to quit if he doesn't like the guidelines. It really is high time they got off the high horse and realized that they exist because of the game. The first thing that needs to change is the name of the board - just call it the Indian Cricket Board. Remove the Control!

    But that's a bit too much to expect from a bunch of people who don't care if the Indian team plays Australia in a test match after one warm-up game. As if this wasn't shocking enough, there are indications that Cricket Australia agreed to a BCCI request to shorten a warm-up game to two days.

    The game is against the Australian Capital Territory XI and there are two ways to look at it. There's not much cricketing benefit from playing an extra day against a side which plays various state 2nd XIs and so the team might as well proceed quickly to Perth, where they haven't played a test match for 15 years. The other way to look at it is that any sort of valuable match practice possible has been lost, and the packed itinerary is to blame. The series against Pakistan ends on December 12 and the first tour game in Australia is on December 20.

    To make matters worse, at this point in time, it isn't even immediately apparent which quick bowlers will be touring Australia. If Zaheer, Munaf, RP Singh or Sreesanth aren't going to be fit, why bother turning up with Ishant, Irfan and Ranadeb Bose?!

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 1:10 AM |
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    By Blogger Kids Fellow (10-Dec-2007, 10:50:00 AM)  

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