The Indian cricket board pulled a rabbit out of its hat at the apex body's Annual General Meeting in Mumbai today as Sandeep Patil, part of India's 1983 World Cup-winning team, replaced K Srikkanth as the chief selector of India's national team. Also, at the meeting, Mohinder Amarnath was sacked as the North Zone selector.
Patil, outgoing director of the Bangalore-based National Cricket Academy, wasn't even in the fray until yesterday when potential replacements for the selection panel were being discussed. His unexpected elevation has not only dashed the hopes of former India pacer Abey Kuruvilla, of being the West Zone selector, but also that of his World Cup winning team mate, who was considered a strong favourite to succeed Srikkanth as head of the selection panel. Kuruvilla had chaired the junior selection committee that picked the World Cup Under-19 winning team.
Patil and Binny, who has taken over from Srikkanth as the South Zone selector, are joined on the new selection panel by Saba Karim (East), Vikram Rathour (North) and Rajender Singh Hans (Central). Apart from Srikkanth and Amarnath, the outgoing panel also included Narendra Hirwani, Raja Venkat and Surendra Bhave.
With the exception of Amarnath, the other four members of the outgoing selection panel had completed their tenure. The 62-year-old Amarnath replaced the former Indian batsman Yashpal Sharma last year.
Amarnath came on board only last year and an “assurance” was given that he’d become the chairman once Srikkanth’s term finished. However, the former India batsman is said to have fallen out of favour with the board after his tiff with Srikkanth regarding MS Dhoni's captaincy.
"Amarnath had a tiff with Srikkanth as he wanted to replace (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni with (Virender) Sehwag (in the aftermath of India's row of eight Test defeats in England and Australia). As captain of Chennai Super Kings, Dhoni has the backing of the president (N Srinivasan)," an official of a BCCI affiliate is quoted as saying by news agencies on condition of anonymity.
The term for the selection committee has been increased from two years to four years. The senior selection committee members' remuneration has also been raised from Rs. 40 lakh to Rs. 60 lakh, whereas for the junior selectors, the remuneration has been raised from Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh. This is besides the incidental and dearness allowances for attending selection committee meetings and other privileges like five-star accommodation and transport.
Patil, who played 29 Tests and 45 ODIs for India, is a former India and India 'A' coach. He also coached Kenya to an unexpected semi-final place in the 2003 World Cup.
Binny played for India from 1979 to 1987. In his eight-year long career, the former all-rounder took 47 wickets in 27 Tests and 77 wickets in 72 ODIS. Binny was also India's highest wicket-taker during the 1983 World Cup.
Rathour and Karim are both former India internationals; and while the former is the assistant coach of IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab, the latter's appointment has put an end to all political pressure from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee.
Chandrakant Pandit has been named the chairman of junior selction committee.
(with agency inputs)