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Selectors cannot be casual

Paid selector system is not an ideal solution to selection problem, writes Makarand Waingankar

Each cricketing country has its National championship and it is respected the way it should be. Once the schedule is fixed, no changes are made and no postponement is allowed. Top quality pitches and experienced umpires are provided so that a standard is maintained. With the advent of the Twenty20, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) doesn’t seem to be keen on raising the standard of the Ranji Trophy.

There have been conclaves of captains and coaches of State teams. But citing the tight schedule of the IPL tournament, the conclave wasn’t held at the end of the last season. Now with the Champions League set to be played in December, the BCCI has squeezed in the Ranji matches without worrying about the teams.

As per the schedule, there was always a minimum of four days between two matches for travel and practice. But with a gap of only two days, the players quite rightly expressed their displeasure.

A priority

Some of the associations have admitted that protesting against the schedule will not have any effect as the BCCI is giving priority to the Champions League. While studying the schedule, one observes that Maharashtra, after its match against Uttar Pradesh at Kanpur, is expected to be at Vadodara in the next two days. But with no air travel facility available at Kanpur and due to the flight schedules at Lucknow, Maharashtra would have to wait for a day to reach Vadodara, just a day before the match. They will not have any prior practice.

Unless the BCCI insists on associations playing matches at the venues where air travel is available, most of the teams will have no recovery period for the players and no net practice for acclimatisation. When each match is of 360 overs, a gap of four days is ideal for recovering from the fatigue, especially for the fast bowlers.

The new National Selection Committee is creating enough problems for itself. Add to this, the BCCI’s obsession with the concept of having paid selectors. Many of the selectors were not in touch with the game at the first-class level. No wonder they messed up with a few careers while selecting the teams for the Challenger Series.

Very understandably there has been clamour about the recent selection. And these players were picked for India ‘A’ in August and September, but the selectors have conveniently overlooked the performances of U.P.’s Sudeep Tyagi, who was the highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy (41 at 21.63 ), Goa batsman Swapnil Asnodkar (568 at 113.60) and Baroda batsman Rakesh Solanki (645 at 64.50), and a dozen other shining performers like Ravindra Jadeja.

Not ideal solution

It has been proved that paid selector system is not an ideal solution unless the committee analyses the data of performances.

Had that been done, all the genuine performers would have surely been at Cuttack for the Challenger Series, not those who either have been on the verge of retirement or were not good enough to be in the chosen 15 of their respective zonal teams. K. Srikkanth and his colleagues can’t afford to be casual.

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