Former Indian pacemaker Chetan Sharma was named chair of the senior national selection panel on Thursday by the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), which also chose Mumbai’s Abey Kuruvilla and Odisha’s Debasis Mohanty in the five-man squad. The new panel was formed on the sidelines of the 89th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Board of Directors, with Sharma targeting Maninder Singh and Vijay Dahiya from the Northern Zone. “It is indeed a privilege for me to have another chance to serve Indian cricket. I am a man of few words and my action will speak louder than words,” Sharma, who has a five-wicket haul at Lord’s. a Test match, PTI told.
“I can only thank BCCI for this opportunity,” added the 54-year-old. Former medium pacemaker Kuruvilla, who was backed by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) Bigwigs, was preferred over a more decorated Ajit Agarkar from the Western Zone.
Mohanty, a former Native American sailor from Odisha, served as a junior national selector for the past two years and will only remain on the committee for a few more years.
The squad also includes former Indian players Sunil Joshi (South Zone) and Harvinder Singh (Central Zone).
“The committee further recommended Chetan Sharma to the role of chair of the senior selection committee based on seniority (total number of test matches),” BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said in a press release.
“The CAC will assess the candidates after a period of one year and make the recommendations to the BCCI,” added Shah.
Under the BCCI constitution, the candidate with the most test caps becomes the chief selector. Sharma represented India in 23 Tests and 65 ODIs during an 11-year international career, culminating in his hat-trick at the 1987 World Cup.
At the age of 16, Sharma started playing first-class cricket for Haryana and made his Test debut at the age of 18, a year after making his ODI debut against the West Indies in December 1983.
The main tradeoff on the day was to ensure safe passage for Kuruvilla, whose cricket performance was no match for Agarkar, who was the only candidate with over 200 international appearances among the contenders.
“Agarkar has never had the support of the Mumbai Cricket Association. There were allegations that he had not seen any matches as Mumbai’s chief selector. The MCA was adamant that Abey is their man,” a senior BCCI source told PTI.
“Abey got support from really influential people in the Mumbai cricket fraternity and he played his cards very well. There was no way that Ajit, despite his cricket record, would have caught Abey,” he added.
It has been learned that some candidates were asked questions regarding the roadmap of Indian cricket and also hypothetical questions about split captain.
While for Joshi, who has remained the voters’ chair since his appointment to the post in March, after which cricket activities came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was always on the map.
Joshi was appointed chairman on the premise that someone else will take over once all the members of the panel have changed, he said.
The first meeting of the new selection committee will be held to make the selection for the full-fledged home series against England.
The Madan Lal-led CAC also includes RP Singh and Sulakshana Nai.
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