With Bengal fighting to stay in the match, a man who has been in the thick of things in many capacities cut a strange figure on Friday. chief selector Sambaran Banerjee was languishing in the stands instead of shouting instructions to the players like he was till the previous match.
Following the wish of coach Utpal Chatterjee, Banerjee has been barred from entering the dressing room and talking to the players before or during the match. So there he was, a traveling selector without a say in team matters.
This is not the time to get judgmental on this or on Chatterjee’s threat that if this isn’t followed, he would quit but a bizarre sight it sure was. There was Banerjee in the gallery and the team manager keeping a frantic look on his whereabouts, seeming afraid of fresh outbursts the selector’s proximity to the team could force from Chatterjee.
On his part, Banerjee slipped seamlessly into his new role. Not reacting to any query a, he passed the instructions he got over phone from Bengal consultant Mohinder Amarnath to the manager without conveying them directly to the players.
Teammates in Bengal’s only successful Ranji campaign after Independence, in 1989-90, the spat between Banerjee and Chatterjee has been a curious tale in the state's cricket history. It looks funny from the point of view of an outsider although it's early to say whether everything will end in good fun.