Despite unremarkable last tenure, Chetan Sharma retains chief selector post
While Ankola comes in for the post that has been vacant since Abey Kuruvilla’s term ended in early 2022, the other three will be replacing the old selectors from their respective zones.
Published: 08th January 2023 12:10 AM | Last Updated: 08th January 2023 12:10 AM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: So, it’s official. After days of speculation and drama, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) finally named the new selection committee. However, one name that seemed interesting is Chetan Sharma, who has been retained in his position as the selection committee chairperson. Sharma did not have a great tenure as India could not win any ICC trophy last year and there was pressure to evaluate his selection process.
Yet Sharma kept his post as the Chairperson of the Senior Men’s National Selection Committee as the Cricket Advisory Committee named the new set of selectors on Saturday. Joining Sharma in the committee would be Shiv Sundar Das (Central Zone), Subroto Banerjee (East Zone), Salil Ankola (West Zone) and S Sharath (South Zone).
The CAC, featuring Sulakshana Naik, Ashok Malhotra, and Jatin Paranjape, shortlisted 11 individuals for interviews from around 600 applications the board had received. Based on the interviews, they have named the new committee, the BCCI said in a statement.
While Ankola comes in for the post that has been vacant since Abey Kuruvilla’s term ended in early 2022, the other three will be replacing the old selectors from their respective zones. Ankola was the chief selector of Mumbai for the last two years. Das, who was the batting coach of the Indian women’s team till the 2022 ODI World Cup, and Banerjee were coaches at the National Cricket Academy before the appointment. Sharath, on the other hand, was the chairman of the national junior selection committee and had a significant role in picking the players for the 2022 U19 World Cup-winning team.
The BCCI had advertised for all five selector positions, including that of the Chairman, on November 18, 2022. It came on the back of a series of selection decisions over the last 16 months that did not bear fruit for the Indian team across formats. Missing out on winning two T20 World Cups, Jasprit Bumrah was rushed back from injury only to miss the marquee event (T20 World Cup) to name a few. Not to mention the handling of the ODI captaincy transfer from Virat Kohli to Rohit Sharma and the lack of transparency. In 2022, the Sharma-led committee held a press conference only thrice and on most occasions, the reasons for selection or non-selection of players were left for everyone to guess or assume.
However, despite the advertisement, the existing committee was asked to be at the venues looking over the Ranji Trophy matches in December. And what's more, they picked the squads for the ongoing Sri Lanka series as well. While it came as a surprise as to how a committee that is supposedly "sacked" could continue to select squads, MSK Prasad, a former selector himself, explained it. "That has always been the procedure. See until the next selection committee takes over the previous selection committee works till the last day and then the moment they take over, they will take the baton. I don’t think there is a procedural lapse," told this daily recently.
However, it raised eyebrows when Sharma, whose position was advertised for, attended the review meeting of the Indian men’s team performance in 2022 on the first day of 2023. After all, the inconsistency with selections has been a significant issue with Indian cricket over the last two years. When it was widely reported that Sharma was among the shortlisted candidates, it became clear that the 57-year-old is likely to retain his spot on the committee. And on Friday, it has become official.
While the newly named committee does have some candidates who have fared well as selectors at different levels, we have to wait and see how they do in a year where India have a chance to win two ICC trophies. For now, despite having the same Chairman, one can only hope that things take a turn for the good in 2023.