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Mr Selector, you should be ashamed

It's a great story — captain versus selection committee, the struggle for control of the Indian team — but the latest episode of a selector leaking a discussion that happened in a meeting is a sordid affair leaving no winners in Indian cricket, writes Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: Nov 22, 2008 23:32 IST
Anand Vasu

It's a great story — captain versus selection committee, the struggle for control of the Indian team — but the latest episode of a selector leaking a discussion that happened in a meeting is a sordid affair leaving no winners in Indian cricket. For the media, and through them the public, it's all very well. But behind every leak is an interested party. The question is: why did a selector choose to put this piece of information out in the open? Or, what did he have to gain?

To speculate on which selector sprung a leak is pointless. Unless we hear a recording of a conversation with the journalist in question, we'll never know for sure who it was. The point is, M.S Dhoni will know just who chirped, and that selector himself will know. By calling the episode “disgusting and disrespectful” Dhoni is talking to the man who leaked it, and he knows that the captain knows who let him down.

Dhoni did not confirm that he offered, or threatened (if you will) to step down, but by not denying it he's allowed people to assume there was some truth in the suggestion. The point is, this is neither here nor there. If the decision in question was big enough, something that tore at the very heart of the team the captain was building, Dhoni would have actually resigned when he failed to get his way, not merely threatened to do so. Dhoni is not one to suffer fools gladly.

But there's also no need to be shocked if Dhoni did offer to resign. After all, a captain is only as good as his team, and at the end of the day it is the captain’s head on the line if the team fails to perform. So it is natural that Dhoni feels strongly about a certain player and expresses his view. Equally, though, there is a need for a strong and independent panel of selectors, as some things that aren't obvious to the captain can be seen by a keen observer on the outside. The captain certainly should not have his way completely, but here the problem stems from the fact that this panel is yet to prove that it fits the bill.

What this incident does is vitiate the atmosphere in the dressing-room. Just how much faith will RP have in the most powerful of Indian cricketers, the captain in all three formats, if he could not sway the selectors? Just how much confidence will Irfan have, if he believes the report that his captain threatened to quit when the selectors picked him in place of RP? And you can imagine the sledging when Irfan takes the field.

Team selection is the most crucial element in building a successful unit, and the process can be charged up or even vitriolic: you expect passion, arguments, even fights when picking the best possible team. But once that is done, the selectors have to stand united, whether they like it or not. The one bad egg in the lot who chooses to leak, only weakens Indian cricket, and reveals himself as having an agenda. There's no need to name names, no need for the BCCI to investigate. You know who you are, Mr Selector, and you should be ashamed.