The BCCI's decision not to allow the Chairman of Selectors to interact with the media after a Selection Committee meeting was inevitable after what happened recently. When the Chairman is asked whether it was personal enmity that led to a certain omission, then the BCCI would naturally say "Enough is enough," and see that the Chairman or, for that matter, any selector, is not subjected to such an ordeal.
Not every Chairman is articulate and even the articulate ones can sometimes use a wrong word or sentence, and that's enough to create a furore. The late Ramakant Desai had a tough time coping with the media when he was Chairman, and many feel his life was shortened by the tension and pressure of media questioning. Ramakant was essentially a shy man, not one to give his views to all and sundry even when he was not a selector. A person does not have to be media-savvy to be Chairman, since he is there primarily because of his experience as a player, and to pick teams.
In Australia too, the cricket board simply issues a media release giving the team selected, but there is also a comment from the Chairman of Selectors as to what they expect from the players and any other issue that the media might be interested in. It is not an ideal situation, and one which calls for a better interaction between the media and the BCCI, where there has to be a mutual acceptance of what is the right way to have clarity about the selection, which is a confidential meeting anyway.
Money and the matches
The BCCI has decided that selectors will be paid for watching Tests and ODIs, a good move that will make selectors happy, but what about Ranji Trophy and junior cricket in India? Now that the Ranji season is on, the selectors should be watching fringe players carefully.
The moot point is: will any selector watch first-class games when an ODI or Test is on simultaneously? There is no mention of any payment for first-class games. Now that the team for the first two Tests against Pakistan has been selected, the selectors should be watching Ranji and not the Tests, but then, they will lose out on the allowances and fees. It is here that the Chairman has to take the initiative and decide which selector goes where to watch Ranji games. It's a good move to pay the selectors, but at the same time, the BCCI must make it clear that their job is not just to watch Tests and ODIs, but also scout for talent in domestic games.
The other commendable decision is to release players who are not part of the India XI so they can represent Ranji teams. There is no point in players just sitting around for days on end with no competitive cricket, for if there is an injury to someone playing and they are asked to play, they will be short of match-practice and the confidence that comes with it.
The only sad part is that most players would rather be part of the glamour involved in being in the India squad and having five-star comforts, rather than slumming it out in some place where there may not be too many spectators.
Some coaches of state teams too would rather not have these players, because they know their commitment-levels would not be high, and they will, if anything, disrupt the rhythm and groove the regular Ranji squad is in. Still, it's a great decision by the BCCI, and they need to be complimented for it.