‘Stung’ Chetan Sharma loses job as chief national selector

Feb 17, 2023 11:15 PM IST

Sharma tendered his resignation three days after his controversial TV comments became public and BCCI accepted it, for breach of contract

Chetan Sharma’s second stint as chairman of national selection committee has ended in around 40 days. The former India player was forced to resign three days after a TV sting showed him talking about India team players and selection issues that has raked up a controversy.

Chetan Sharma has resigned as chief selector.(Twitter)
Chetan Sharma has resigned as chief selector.(Twitter)

Hours after the sting was aired, Sharma was present at the Eden Gardens on Thursday in his capacity as chief selector for Day 1 of the Ranji Trophy final between Bengal and Saurashtra. He was absent from there on Friday.

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“Chetan Sharma’s resignation has been accepted,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah confirmed.

Sharma was only reappointed chief selector on January 7 after BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) had scrutinised 600 applications before selecting the five national selectors. His panel would have picked the squad for the ODI World Cup at home in October-November and help India end a 10-year wait to end the wait for an ICC trophy.

Little did he suspect his future as chief selector was in danger when he spoke about various cricket issues, unaware of Zee News’ hidden camera. He revisited Virat Kohli’s controversial removal as ODI skipper in late 2021, described Rohit Sharma’s T20 future as bleak and claimed that Hardik Pandya and other players would come home for hours and that many India cricketers took injections to show they were fully fit.

How much of it was Sharma being indiscreet and how much of it was true is for BCCI to investigate. It is learnt the board is yet to ask Zee to share the unedited tape of the sting.

An official at the news channel said “there was no proposal of and exchange of money during the course of the sting operation”. Sharma reportedly agreed to discuss confidential selection matters. At one point, he tells his interviewer to not say that “Rohit was being favoured over Virat” but that ex-president Sourav Ganguly “did not like Virat”.

Sharma in the video is also seen explaining what he called an ego clash between Ganguly and Kohli. He says Ganguly did ask Kohli to reconsider his resignation as T20I captain before the 2021 T20 World Cup. Kohli had said he was not asked to reconsider by the then BCCI president, stoking a controversy.

A lot of what was said wasn’t startling, but showed the selection committee, team management, players and BCCI in poor light. One understands none those he mentioned wanted to continue working with him. A BCCI official said irrespective of the contents of the sting, Sharma continuing became ‘untenable’ because he was in ‘breach of his contract’.


Sharma’s stint as chief selector began in December 2020. He rarely addressed the media to explain his selection calls. When he did, it was to defuse the Kohli captaincy crisis. In terms of results, India won many bilateral white-ball series but failed in back-to-back T20 World Cups.

He was reportedly sacked following the semi-final loss to England in the 2022 World Cup semi-final, but survived after arguing that most policy decisions in the lead up to the tournament like rest and rotation were taken by the team management. Sharma was the only survivor from among the previous set of selectors.

Life had offered Sharma a shot at redemption during his playing days. Painted a villain after being on the receiving end of Javed Miandad’s last-ball six in the 1986 Australasia Cup final in Sharjah, he went on to become a hat-trick hero against New Zealand in the 1987 World Cup. The second term as chief selector would have brought glory if he had stayed on and India had achieved World Cup success later this year.

Replacement awaited

His replacement is expected to be announced in due course. There are no team selections until after IPL (Mar 31 to May 28), other than picking the side for the third and fourth Tests and 3 ODIs against Australia, and the Rest of India team for the Irani Cup. Shiv Sundar Das, who has played the most Tests among the four remaining selectors, will be the interim head.

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    Rasesh Mandani loves a straight drive. He has been covering cricket, the governance and business side of sport for close to two decades. He writes and video blogs for HT.

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