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Viru in team because of Dravid: Colonel

Vengsarkar says selectors had decided to leave out Sehwag but Dravid insisted on having him in the team.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2007 02:23 AM IST

The Cricket Board on Saturday took strong exception to Dilip Vengsarkar’s remark on Virender Sehwag’s inclusion in India’s World Cup squad, saying it was not proper for the chief selector to make such statements. The BCCI also said that such remarks could only lead to fresh controversies ahead of India’s campaign in the mega event in the Caribbean.

Board chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty said: “It is not right to comment on team selection now. I wish Vengsarkar had refrained from making such comments at a time when the team had already left for the showpiece event,” Shetty said.

“The code of conduct applies to everybody, players and selectors,” he said.

BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla also agreed that the timing of Vengsarkar’s statement was wrong. “The Chairman of the Selection Committee should not make such a remark. It creates unnecessary controversy before the Cup. He should refrain from making such statements.

“The team is selected by the five selectors in consultation with the captain and coach. Selection issues should not come out in the open,” Shukla said.

Asked whether the BCCI would seek an explanation from Vengsarkar, he said, “we have to study what he has said in the interview and then we will see.”

Vengsarkar had told a news channel that the out-of-form Virender Sehwag was selected in the squad only because Dravid insisted on his inclusion.

Vengsarkar said the selectors had initially decided to leave out Sehwag but Dravid insisted on having the batsman in the squad.

“I would always back the captain. When I was leading India, I never got the team I wanted and I didn’t want Rahul to go through the same. He insisted on having Sehwag and that made the difference,” Vengsarkar told the channel, which will broadcast the interview on Sunday.

Vengsarkar admitted Sehwag did not feature in the initial scheme of things due to his prolonged run-drought but enjoyed backing from some quarters in the team.

“It was a bit of gamble (to have him in the side)...But I think he has done extremely well in the past. Besides, he has won a lot of matches for India. We are hoping that he would do well in the World Cup,” added Vengsarkar.

Shedding light on Irfan Pathan’s selection, Vengsarkar said, “Both Irfan and Sehwag have fantastic records and they have done extremely well in the past. Again, form is important as well. But they have experience, which makes a lot of difference. If there are tight games, experience can win you matches.”

He also justified the decision to appoint Sachin Tendulkar as the vice-captain of the side. “Rahul is an experienced player, so is Sachin. If something happens to Dravid, God forbid, Sachin can lead,” he reasoned.

The issue was not discussed with Dravid, he said.

On Greg Chappell, Vengsarkar said the India coach has done “reasonably” well and felt the Australian should continue with the team even after the World Cup.

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