The Indian cricket board (BCCI) seems to be in no mood to put up with the tantrums of chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar and is prepared for his exit. The board has made contingency plan to get former India captain Chandu Borde as chairman to preside over the selection committee meeting to pick the India squad for Australia later this month.
The board is believed to have sounded Borde on Sunday night to be ready to take over the job. If Vengsarkar does not relent and decides to quit before Wednesday, then Borde will, in all probability, chair the crucial selection committee meeting in Bangalore, to pick the squad for the Australia tour.
It was Borde who bailed out the board by agreeing to be the cricket manager on India's tour of England in the summer after Ravi Shastri expressed his inability to continue as manager after the Bangaldesh tour.
In a last-ditch effort, East Zone selector and president of the Orissa Cricket Association Ranjib Biswal rushed to Vengsarkar's residence in Mumbai to prevail upon him not to act rashly.
The message to Vengsarkar was loud and clear when board vice-president and spokesman Rajeev Shukla hurriedly called a press conference on Sunday afternoon to state that the chief selector had offered to resign.
It is intriguing that such a statement has come from the board's spokesman, considering that it has always taken a conservative approach to controversial issues and tried to play them down.
Normally, the board tries to hide such information and lets Vengsarkar to make all the moves. But this time the board has been livid with him as he chose to serve an ultimatum that if it does not withdraw the guidelines issued to the selectors by Wednesday, he will put in his papers.
Pawar, after consulting his senior colleagues, decided that the board should come clean on the issue, whatever be Vengsarkar's stand, and tell the world that he has threatened to quit without referring to the deadline.
That explains the haste with which Shukla decided to call the press and make the half-baked announcement. What he did not say is that the board has decided not to cajole Vengsarkar to even reconsider his decision, though it was said for public consumption that he had been asked to keep national interest in mind and select the squad for Australia before sorting out other issues.
Late on Sunday night, Shukla said if Vengsarkar wants to quit, he was free to do so. Vengsarkar, by taking the moral high ground at this juncture, wanted to hit the board where it hurts the most when the selectors have to meet to finalise the squad for Australia.
However, his position becomes untenable now that the board has decided not to withdraw the guidelines. Also, with the other selectors choosing to stay away from the imbroglio, his time seems to be up.
It now transpires that the decision to shift the selection committee meeting from Kolkata scheduled Tuesday to Wednesday in Bangalore to pick the team for the final Test against Pakistan was done at the instance of other selectors who were watching the latest round of Ranji Trophy matches that end Tuesday. But Vengsarkar has fixed his own Mumbai selection committee meeting Wednesday.
The board then suggested that since there could be only one or two changes in the squad for the Bangalore Test, the selectors could do it though teleconferencing and meet in Bangalore during the Test to name the squad for Australia.