It was expected to be a smooth transition when Kiran More handed over charge of the chairman of selectors to Dilip Vengsarkar at the Cricket Club of India in September 2006.
But on Monday, More hit out at his successor for dropping Rahul Dravid for the first two one-day internationals against Pakistan.
“This is the same team that played the World Cup. What is the future of Indian cricket, I don’t know,” More said from Chandigarh. “The captain has changed, a former captain has been dropped. Are we going behind or are we going forward?”
More, who is a consultant with the Indian Cricket League, said Vengsarkar was scared of taking big decisions. “He is talking about youth. He is talking about Dravid’s fitness. There is no clear picture. He and his committee have to take big decisions, but I think he is scared of taking big decisions.”
“I don’t think the chairman of selectors has the guts to drop the others,” More said when asked if the other two seniors could also be in line if they did not perform.
More said his panel focussed on youth. “Look at players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Robin Uthappa and Dinesh Karthik. They have not come overnight. We groomed them. The present selection committee is not doing anything outstanding.”
Two of the current selectors — Sanjay Jagdale and Bhupinder Singh Sr — were part of the previous committee chaired by More. Could they have not carried on from where they left under More?
“The selection committee is being dominated by the chairman. So, where is the question of others giving their opinion. If a person like Rahul has suddenly resigned from captaincy, and now he is being dropped, there is some agenda behind it,” said More.
The former Indian wicketkeeper defended Dravid’s poor form against the Australians in the one-day series. “Everybody is talking about starts. Rahul has batted from one to seven. Let the others bat between five and seven and average 30-odd. You cannot compare Rahul’s statistics with the others,” he said.
Dubai: “The fact that Dravid has been dropped for two one-dayers does not mean the end of his one-day career. We would need his experience for the Australian tour. For the amount of cricket that is being played, we will need about 20 to 25 players who are fit all the time,” Ravi Shastri said.
Mumbai: Former cricketers Sandeep Patil and Sanjay Manjrekar said Dravid got a raw deal from the selectors who showed scant respect for his contribution to the game.
“I had earlier supported the idea that Sharad Pawar, as BCCI president, should not interfere in selection matters. I would revise my decision now and recall how once NKP Salve, as then BCCI president, had intervened and influenced the selectors to include Sunil Gavaskar after he had been dropped,” Patil said.
Manjrekar said it was unfortunate that a “selfless” cricketer like Dravid had been given such a raw deal when he needed the support most.
“If anybody deserved a life jacket in troubled waters it was Dravid.”