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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 04, 2011
It is often said in Indian cricket that even if your performance is not up to the mark, you can still make your way into the team if you have the right contacts. Another dubious example of selection seems to have been added to the long list with Anirudha Srikkanth, son of chairman of selectors K Srikkanth, being named in the 15-member India 'A' team for the Emerging Players Tournament that starts in Australia on August 1.

Compared to the other names in the team, the 25-year-old Anirudha had an ordinary domestic season.

It seems to be the first blatant goof-up from the first paid panel of selectors. Srikkanth remained unavailable for comment, but a selector claimed that it was the father who had proposed Anirudha's name.

"Once the chief selector proposed Anirudha's name, there was no way any of us could have countered it. It had to be a unanimous selection," a selector said, preferring anonymity.

Even though the hard-hitting batsman was good in patches during the domestic one-dayers, domestic Twenty20 and the Indian Premier League, he was inconsistent during the Ranji Trophy. In fact, Anirudha could not find a place in Tamil Nadu's eleven for three of their nine Ranji games last season.

Still, he was chosen for the tournament that features three-day matches against the fringe players from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

But players being pushed into 'A' sides is not new in Indian cricket. In the last four years, this is the third such instance.

In 2007, Arjun Yadav, the son of former India off-spinner, national selector N Shivlal Yadav who was then secretary of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, was picked from nowhere for the India 'A' tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Later, Jaydev Shah, the son of then BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, was selected for a tri-series involving Australia 'A' and New Zealand 'A' in 2008.