Agarkar could be chief selector
Who will be Indian cricket’s next chief selector? In a world cup year, that question assumes added significance, and the BCCI’s deadline for applicants closed on Friday with former fast bowler Ajit Agarkar seen as the frontrunner.
At the time of writing, Agarkar and former India leg-spinner turned commentator Laxman Sivaramakrishnan had already applied.
The other cricketers who have submitted their applications are Rajesh Chauhan, Amay Khurasia, Chetan Sharma, Nayan Mongia, and Abey Kuruvilla.
Former medium pacer Venkatesh Prasad, who played 33 Tests and 161 ODIs for India is also expected apply, as is former off-spinner Nikhil Chopra.
The BCCI constitution says, ‘The senior most Test cap among the members of the committee shall be appointed chairperson’. Agarkar, with 26 Test caps and 191 ODIs, played for India under then captain Sourav Ganguly, now the BCCI chief.
Agarkar also has prior selection experience, having headed Mumbai’s selection committee. He would be a strong contender to head the committee, but for him to be appointed, BCCI would need to look beyond zonal considerations.
The outgoing chairman MSK Prasad is from the South Zone. The other vacancy in the committee is created by Central Zone’s Gagan Khoda, whose term has also expired. Three other national selectors, Jatin Paranje (West Zone), Sarandeep Singh (North Zone) and Devang Gandhi (East Zone), are serving their last year.
Though there is no formal rule, the BCCI follows the convention of replacing a selector with an applicant from the same zone. That would put South Zone’s Sivaramakrishnan, with 9 Test caps, in the running.
The outgoing chief selector’s tenure had ended in September 2019, but due to a delay in holding the BCCI’s AGM, Prasad had to continue in the post.
That should have changed in December, when the AGM was finally held, but Ganguly has cited the stringent conflict-of-interest clause as a deterrent in getting ex-cricketers on-board to make the Cricket advisory committee (CAC). According to the BCCI’s new constitution, the CAC has the mandate to appoint selectors—it is yet to be formed.