The announcement of the Indian badminton team for the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games to be held in Colombo next month has caught selectors by surprise. And that's because no selection committee meeting was held to pick the team.
The circular conveying the SAF team to state units was issued by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) secretary LC Gupta on July 23.
The same day, when HT asked former national champion Ami Ghia and selection committee members about the team she replied, "I am waiting for the selection meeting date. It could take place any time."
But sources said the team was selected well before July 23 since the deadline to communicate the team to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was July 15.
Even some players confirmed to this correspondent that they were sounded off about their selection in the team almost a month ago and were asked to furnish details and fill forms.
According to the team announced by BAI, world number 20 Chetan Anand and Trupti Murgunde will lead the Indian challenge in Colombo. Like every earlier edition, the Indians are expected to make a clean sweep of the gold medals on offer.
"It is true that the tournament is a very low profile event. But that does not mean that the procedure for team selection should not be followed," a senior BAI office-bearer said.
BAI has a seven-member selection committee in place with the president VK Verma as its chairman and Gupta as its convenor. The other members of the committee are Dinesh Khanna, national coach Pullela Gopichand, Pradeep Gandhe, with Madhumita Bisht as observer.
Gupta brushed aside the query on how the team was selected and what criteria was employed.
"That is none of your business," he said. "We have given you (media) the team. Your job is simply to publish it and not ask any other questions."
The BAI has also not kept a role for the national selectors in selecting the players for the 2010 Elite Squad for the preparation for the Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi.
The Federation has appointed a three-member committee comprising Gopichand, Khanna and former national coach TPS Puri, which is wholly in charge of the 2010 programme.
Men: Chetan Anand, Nikhil Kanetkar, Thomas Kurien, Sanave Thomas, Rupesh Kumar, V Diju, Jishnu Sanyal, Akshay Dewalkar.
Women: Trupti Murgunde, B R Meenakshi, Aparna Balan, Jwala Gutta, Shruti Kurien, Krishna Deka Rai, Oli Deka.