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TTFI's inconsistent selection policy

It's easier to perform than to be selected in the National team. That's how most of the Indian paddlers, apart from the top three ranked players, feel before an important selection meeting.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2006 20:01 IST

It's easier to perform than to be selected in the National team. That's how most of the Indian paddlers, apart from the top three ranked players, feel before an important selection meeting.

With the men's and women's teams for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next month to be selected during the Senior Nationals here on Saturday, it is believed that Gujarat's Pathik Mehta will once again get the nod ahead of the higher ranked players.

Mehta, who was ranked 13th in the Table Tennis Federation of India's (TTFI) official ranking list prior to the Nationals and was seeded 10th in the men's singles event, has represented India in almost every international tournament during this season.

The reason, according to most of the players and officials (on the condition of anonymity), is his 'connection with the top TTFI bosses'. It is learnt that the TTFI has a tradition of favouring certain players - both in men's and women's.

A TTFI source, not willing to be named, said: "How can you help it if somebody is liked by a few important officials?"

Hubert Hustache, the French coach who resigned last year as the Indian coach, had told this reporter that he wasn't happy with the selection procedure days after he resigned.

The selection process has been so inconsistent throughout the season that Subhajit Saha, the third player in the team, has played doubles with a new partner in all the international meets.

The source was also not happy with Montu Ghosh's name being promoted as the women's team coach for the Commonwealth Games. "Never has it happened before that an active player has been appointed the coach of the national team," said the source. "We should not set wrong precedents."

Despite all opposition, it looks as if Mehta will fly to Melbourne as a member of the Indian team, unless the selection committee comprising TTFI president Ajay Singh Chautala (chairman of the committee who hardly attends meetings), Bhawani Mukherjee, and ex-internationals Manjit Dua, Sunil Babras and Kamlesh Mehta - think otherwise.

First Published: Feb 26, 2006 20:01 IST