National selector from South Zone, VB Chandrashekhar, told HT on Monday that the single biggest problem dogging the fortunes of Indian cricket was probably an inability to deal with "star value" -- both by the selection committee and the players themselves.
"I think there is too much star value attached to selections and that creates problems," Chandrashekhar said from Chennai, on the eve of choosing teams for India's premier domestic one-day event, the Challenger Trophy.
He cited the problem with Irfan Pathan: "He has not been doing well for quite sometime. He is undoubtedly a very good cricketer but an India cap has to be earned and cannot be taken for granted. Perhaps we should have given him a break and let him come back with a strong performance."
Chandrashekhar said frequent changes in the batting order caused problems, especially when they coincided with poor form. He said, "Take Virender Sehwag. You can send him down the order in an easy game to give him time in the middle. But recently there were no easy games. If he is out of form and does not find a slot as an opener, he should be dropped. How long do they stay, whether it is a Sehwag or a Dhoni, who has not been doing well? We need to balance this and star value has to go."
Chandrashekhar, the man many alleged was anti-Sourav Ganguly because of his proximity to southerner Rahul Dravid, said it was not true. "I am not anti-Sourav," he said. But he admitted the Ganguly saga had been badly mismanaged.