When he was included in the national selection committee late last year, Mohinder Amarnath had been tipped to take over the reins of the panel from K Srikkanth this October. After all, Srikkanth — along with Narendra Hirwani, Surendra Bhave and Raja Venkat — next month-end complete four years as national selectors, the most allowed by the Indian cricket board’s (BCCI’s) constitution.
However, instead of taking over as the chief selector, Amarnath, who famously referred to the then national selectors as “buffoons” towards the end of his international career, is set to be replaced as a national selector.
And the man who is set to replace Srikkanth at the helm of the selection panel is yet another all-rounder from India’s maiden World Cup triumph in 1983 — Roger Binny. The highest wicket-taker in that campaign, now a vice-president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), has emerged as the front-runner to succeed Srikkanth in the job.
“It is more or less certain that let alone be the chief selector, Amarnath will no longer be a selector. And you cannot ask for a better candidate to anchor the Indian team's next phase than Binny,” a BCCI insider told HT on Monday.
Though the BCCI's process of appointing selectors is as big a mystery as the Bermuda Triangle, it was learnt that Binny’s high-profile colleagues in KSCA — president Anil Kumble and secretary Javagal Srinath — have been “sounded” about Binny’s likelihood of “being the next chief selector”.
During his 18 seasons in first-class cricket from 1975 to 1992, Binny played 27 Tests and 72 ODIs, with the 1983 World Cup and 1985 World Series of Cricket wins being the highlights of his career. The 57-year-old then coached the Mohammad Kaif-led U-19 team to the World Cup title in 2000. Though the BCCI has more than a month to announce the next set of selectors, it looks likely that Binny will be accompanied by at least two more former internationals.
Former India stumper Deep Dasgupta and former new-ball bowler Abey Kuruvilla — who is the U-19 chief selector — have emerged as the most likely candidates from the East and West Zones, respectively.
And even though two former domestic stalwarts — an opener and a current Ranji Trophy coach — from the Central Zone have been pleading with the BCCI bigwigs to be considered as representative from that zone, former Uttar Pradesh wicketkeeper Sunil Chaturvedi is likely to get the nod. What is not yet clear is whether Amarnath will continue to be a selector. Even if the odds are heavily stacked against that possibility, BCCI insiders are tight-lipped over who they are in touch with as far the North Zone candidate is concerned.