There were fireworks as selectors sat down on Tuesday to pick the 15 men who would defend India’s World Cup cricket title in Australia and New Zealand in the tournament beginning February 14.
Sources said the squad named by the committee in Mumbai is apparently not quite what skipper MS Dhoni wanted, something that does not happen often.
The committee also linked up with Test captain Virat Kohli for a short interaction, seeking his views and informing him of the squad it had picked, making it clear who will have a greater say in all matters cricket.
The point of disagreement was around two spots, sources said. Dhoni had pushed for Murali Vijay as an additional opener and either Mohit Sharma or Varun Aaron as the fifth seamer. Vijay, who has been in great form in Australia throughout the Test series, was Dhoni's teammate in Chennai Super Kings before moving to Delhi Daredevils. Mohit is Dhoni’s teammate in the IPL T20 tournament. Varun, who also is part of the Test squad in Australia, is from the skipper’s home state, Jharkhand.
Video: Indian WC squad selected
In the past, selection committees have more or less given in to the Dhoni, who recently announced his retirement from Test cricket. Before the 2011 World Cup, selectors surprised everyone by picking leg-spinner Piyush Chawla on Dhoni’s demand. He apparently was the skipper’s lucky mascot.
Two rounds of discussions ensued between the panel and Dhoni, who is in Sydney with the team, and joined on conference call. But the committee did not budge.
But it may have some answering to do over its choice of Stuart Binny. On Tuesday, the all-rounder’s father Roger, who is a selector, arrived at the meeting more than an hour late as his flight was delayed.
But like when K Srikkanth, who as chairman of selectors picked son Anirudha -- a move that raised voices of conflict of interest, this one, too, raised eyebrows and faced stiff resistance from the team management, sources said. Dhoni, it was learnt, wanted a specialist batsman or a bowler.
It remains unclear what role Binny, a batsman who bowls seam, will play in the squad.
Experts have justified it saying he would come in handy in New Zealand.
But India are playing minnows Ireland and Zimbabwe there and his services might not be needed at all.