Sunil Joshi named BCCI’s selection committee chairman, Harvinder Singh added to panel
Former India left-arm spinner, Sunil Joshi was chosen chief cricket selector to succeed ex-India stumper MSK Prasad for the post on Wednesday with Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) having stressed on the ability to communicate well with the India team management in its selections.
Former India pacer, Harvinder Singh, was the other selector chosen from a shortlist that included ex-India pacer Venkatesh Prasad and leg-spinner L Sivaramakrishnan.
Joshi, 49, played 15 Tests and 69 ODIs between 1996 and 2001 while Harvinder—he replaces Gagan Khoda—has played three Tests and 16 ODIs. The representatives of south and central zones respectively will join current panel members Jatin Paranjpe (west), Devang Gandhi (east) and Sarandeep Singh (north).
Joshi, the Karnataka bowler with 615 first-class wickets, could not bowl on Test debut at Edgbaston on the 1996 England tour following a finger fracture. However, his best Test came in BCCI president Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy debut in late 2000, when he saved India from embarrassment against Bangladesh in Dhaka.
Joshi led the bowling with 5/162 in Bangladesh’s robust first innings 400 and then rescued the batting, top-scoring with 92 at No. 8 and raising a 121-run stand with skipper Ganguly, who made 84. Joshi took three more wickets as Bangladesh were dismissed for 91 in the second innings, and India eased to victory.
Joshi is best remembered for his spell of 10/6/6/5 in an ODI against South Africa. “I deem it an honour and priviledge to serve our beloved country again and would like to thank the CAC for considering me,” he told HT.
Tackling India team
Although Venkatesh Prasad had played more Tests and had served as the chief selector in the junior selection panel, Madan Lal, the leading member of the CAC also comprising RP Singh and Sulakshana Naik, said Joshi and Harvinder were picked for their clarity in the interview.
Also Joshi has vast coaching experience in domestic cricket and in Bangladesh.
“We asked a few tough questions and they were very clear and straight-forward in their answers. We asked them how they would handle the team management,” said Lal, member of the 1983 World Cup-winning squad and former India coach.
Sources in the know said that was the central message in conversations CAC members had with the BCCI top brass before the interviews. “The board officials were unhappy that the last selection committee could not reason with the team management over specific selections and policy.” The MSK Prasad panel had faced criticism last year, after the World Cup elimination, that it had not shown confidence while dealing with the Indian team management.
RP Singh, a former India pacer, said: “Our captain (Virat Kohli) is a high performing player. We have kept in mind that we find someone who can communicate with him, because in the end it is the captain who has to run the team. Captain matters a lot to the team, so it is important how you (selectors) communicate with him. What is gone is in the past, the two selectors we picked had the best answers on this topic.”
Both the appointments are for one year. The terms of Paranjpe, Gandhi and Sarandeep Singh would come to an end in September. It is understood former India seamer Ajit Agarkar, who missed out this time due to the zonal representation, could replace Paranjpe from west zone. If he does, he would take over as chairman, having played the most Tests (26).
The new selection panel will be picking the team for the three match odi series against South Africa, this week.
CAC’s Dhoni question
One question CAC had for all candidates was how they would deal with the ticklish issue of MS Dhoni’s India future. Dhoni has not played since the World Cup last July. He will return to lead Chennai Super Kings in IPL, which starts on March 29. “The CAC had one common question and that was about their call with regards to Dhoni and whether they will select him for T20 World Cup,” a senior BCCI official told PTI. Some were also asked if they were “only looking at the chairman’s post” or would agree to become a selector.