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New selection panel to be headed by M.S.K. Prasad

The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced during its AGM on Wednesday the national team’s new selection panel — the first ever constituted after conducting interviews from applicants for the job — to be headed by former India wicket-keeper M.S.K. Prasad.

“This committee could have a term shorter than [the tenure of their India careers, combined],” said a BCCI member, on condition of anonymity, after the meeting.

Uncertainty prevails
Jokes aside, the BCCI veteran did have a point. The term of the selection panel, which includes Prasad, Devang Gandhi, Gagan Khoda, Jatin Paranjpe and Sarandeep Singh, could well be over even before it starts.

It is still not certain whether the BCCI’s decisions at the AGM will be acceptable to the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee. If they are not, the Board will be left without a selection panel to pick the squad for the ODI series against New Zealand.

Besides, if the Board’s Special General Meeting, scheduled for September 30, adopts the new rule-book, the selection committee will have to be reconstituted as a three-member panel by December 30.

Best choices?
The legal aspects aside, the composition of the selection panel does raise a question mark on whether these were the best choices for senior national selectors.

The five men have a combined experience of 13 Tests and 31 ODIs.

Even granted that international cricket experience cannot be the sole yard-stick to judge credentials as a selector, the fact that some of the new faces — Prasad and Khoda have been national selectors for the last year — have not really been watching too many domestic games of late does raise concerns over their selection.

Sarandeep, a former Test off-spinner who was sidelined after his action was questioned, was, in fact, rejected as a Delhi selector, but has got a bigger assignment this time around.

The junior selection panel, under the chairmanship of former Test seamer Venkatesh Prasad, includes — in a departure from the norm — multiple names from the same zone.

Aashish Kapoor played for six domestic teams, including Board president Anurag Thakur’s home team of Himachal Pradesh, during his 18-year First Class career.

And then there is Amit Sharma, who played for Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

The others on the panel are former Baroda batsman Rakesh Parikh and Gyanendra Pandey who has played a couple of ODIs for India.

Describing the selections as a “thorough scanning process”, BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke said: “We have only filled up selectors’ vacancies as they were created. Two selectors had completed their term of four years, the maximum granted to anybody.

“So we picked two, and the senior-most person on the panel has been elevated to the chairman’s position.”

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