India senior men's selectors axed, big changes expected

Caught off guard, the panel members - led by Chetan Sharma - were apparently not informed of the decision by the BCCI
Hours after attending a MCA function at the Wankhede stadium, Sunil Joshi (2nd from Left) was removed from the senior men's selection panel
Hours after attending a MCA function at the Wankhede stadium, Sunil Joshi (2nd from Left) was removed from the senior men's selection panel

CHENNAI: Sunil Joshi, former India all-rounder who had played 15 Tests and 69 ODIs for the country apart from 160 first-class matches, attended the MCA U-16 Payyade Trophy prize distribution ceremony at the Garware Club House, Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai on Friday. Little did he know while attending the function that his stint as the Indian selector will come to an end within hours.

If sources are to be believed, what could have come as a bigger surprise for him and others in the panel including chief selector Chetan Sharma, was that they were not even informed about their ouster. It was clear what happened when the Indian cricket board (BCCI) invited applications to find their replacement late in the evening.

As expected, especially after India's another failure at the T20 World Cup in Australia earlier this month, the selectors were allegedly made the scapegoat. It was during Sharma's tenure only the Men in Blue had failed to reach the knock-out stage in the 2021 edition of the event and lost the World Test Championships final to New Zealand. A senior national selector normally gets a four-year term subject to extension.

It needs to be seen if the BCCI will turn its attention towards other members of the team management, including the coaching staff led by former India captain Rahul Dravid. There are indications that there could be separate teams for red and white ball cricket. The teams are expected to be led by two different captains.

As per the BCCI's advertisement, the last date for submitting the applications is November 28. Those who wish to apply should have played 7 Tests or 30 first-class matches or 10 ODIs and 20 first-class matches, says the advertisement. They should have retired from the game at least five years previously, it added.

While Sharma and Joshi were representing North and South Zones respectively, the other two in the panel were Harvinder Singh from the Central Zone and Debasish Mohanty from the East Zone. There was no selector from West Zone after Abbey Kuruvilla's tenure ended.

Joshi and Harvinder were appointed national selectors in February 2020. Chetan took over as chairman of selectors with Mohanty and Kuruvilla joining him after the BCCI's annual general meeting in January 2021.

The key responsibilities of the new selectors will be to plan and prepare a strong bench strength for the senior men’s national team, attend team meetings as and when required, travel to watch domestic and international matches, prepare and provide evaluation reports of the respective team performances to the Apex Council of BCCI on a quarterly basis, address the media on team selection as and when instructed by BCCI, appoint captain for the team in each format and adhere to the rules and regulation of BCCI.
With the 2024 T20 World Cup on the horizon, focus is expected to be on youth. First big challenge would be selecting a strong one-day squad for the 2023 ODI World Cup in India.

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