They have been conspicuous by their absence in the first few weeks of the Indian Premier League (IPL), but India's national selectors are all set to jump on the bandwagon come May 17. Cricketers, franchise owners, IPL officials, BCCI big-wigs, cheerleaders, mascots … name it and just about every species of cricket stakeholder has been visible at grounds.
Before the tournament began there was some doubt as to just what status would be ascribed to these matches. Officially the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians - the body that decides on how to treat statistics from a certain match - has only given these games the status of domestic Twenty20 matches. But clearly the impact the tournament is having, especially as a place for little-known cricketers to showcase themselves, has meant that performances could count for more in the minds of selectors.
On Monday Bhupinder Singh, the selector from the North Zone, wrote to Niranjan Shah, the honorary secretary of the board, with an itinerary for the five national selectors to travel to various IPL matches. Shah, who is on a break at the moment in Istanbul, will reply soon, but it is understood that getting permission is a mere formality.
In the letter Bhupinder has indicated that apart from Dilip Vengsarkar, each of the selectors would travel to four matches in the league phase, not necessarily in their own zone, and Sanjay Jagdale, the selector from the central zone, would also attend the semifinals and final in Mumbai.
"Dilip Vengsarkar, Chairman, Selection Committee may go for any match of his choice.
“This is being sent for approval and is with the consent of the Chairman, Selection Committee," wrote Bhupinder in the letter, a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times.
All that remains is for Shah to give his 'ok' to the proposal, and India's young cricketers could just have some very important people watching their matches. Already this tournament has proven to be a huge platform for the likes of Manpreet Gony, Ashoke Dinda, Shikhar Dhawan and Siddharth Trivedi, to name just a few who have succeeded beyond all expectations.
Who knows, with the selectors watching, performances in the IPL might just become a stepping stone to being picked for the Indian team for the forthcoming ODI tri-series in Bangladesh or the Asia Cup in Pakistan.