Sunil Joshi named chairman of the national selection panel

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04 Mar 2020 | 04:19 PM
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Sunil Joshi named chairman of the national selection panel

In an unprecedented decision, the BCCI said the CAC will review the panel's performance after one year and "make recommendations" accordingly

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Former India spinner Sunil Joshi was named chairman of the national selection panel by the BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), which also picked ex-pacer Harvinder Singh in the five-member group.

The CAC, comprising Madan Lal, R P Singh and Sulakshana Naik, named the two selectors. Joshi replaces MSK Prasad (South Zone), who had an extended run after completing his four-year tenure.

"The committee recommended Mr Sunil Joshi for the role of Chairman of the senior men's selection committee," read a statement from BCCI Secretary Jay Shah.

In an unprecedented decision, the BCCI said the CAC will review the panel's performance after one year and "make recommendations" accordingly.

Harvinder was chosen from Central Zone and replaces Gagan Khoda in the panel.

The existing members of the selection panel are Jatin Paranjpe (West), Devang Gandhi (East) and Sarandeep Singh (North).

"We have picked the best guys for the job. We picked them (Joshi and Harvinder) because they were very clear in their views," Lal said after the interviews.

Specifically on Joshi, Lal said: "We liked his straight-forward attitude. He is experienced also (having been part of the Bangladesh support staff). He has also coached UP.

"I asked him how he handled Bangladesh selectors. He has done the toughest of jobs. His thoughts were the best."

Lal said candidates' playing experience in all three formats was considered.

"Their experience in Tests, ODIs and first-class was considered. The rest we will get to know (with their performance). After one year's time, if we find they have not done a good job, we will decide accordingly," he said.

The CAC had shortlisted five candidates for interviews -- Joshi, Harvinder, Venkatesh Prasad, Rajesh Chauhan and L S Sivaramakrishnan -- from a list of 40 applicants.

The likes of Ajit Agarkar and Nayan Mongia did not even make the short-list but the former could be back in contention after Paranjpe's term ends in September along with Gandhi and Sarandeep.

"Their tenure is for one-year. Once the tenure of other selectors is over (in September), the CAC will sit again to pick the new selectors in their place and we will review the performance of the selectors that we have picked," said Lal.

Joshi's selection from South Zone and Harvinder getting picked from Central Zone also shows that the Board has stuck with the zonal policy.

"Our zonal system is very effective and you need it as India is a huge country," said Lal .

Their predecessors, Prasad and Khoda, who were appointed back in 2015 and given an extension last November.

The 49-year-old Joshi played 15 Tests and 69 ODIs between 1996 and 2001, taking 41 and 69 wickets respectively.

Harvinder, who is 42, represented India in three Tests and 16 ODIs between 1998 and 2001, taking four and 24 scalps respectively.

The playing credentials of the Prasad-led panel were often questioned and this time too, the CAC decided to pick Joshi and Harvinder over more experienced candidates.

Lal said the BCCI office-bearers, including president Sourav Ganguly, gave the CAC a free hand in choosing the candidates. "Ganguly did not even say a word," he said.

On selectors dealing with the high-profile team management including skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri, Lal assured the chosen ones will not shy away from taking tough calls.

"We have selected those who can take the hardest of decisions. (Be it) Ravi Shastri or Virat Kohli, we are taking about the India team. We selected those who can take tough calls."

Fellow CAC member R P Singh added: "Our captain is a high performing player. We knew that we needed to find somebody who can communicate with him, because in the end it is the captain who has to run the team.

"Captain matters a lot to the team and so it is important how you communicate with him. What is gone is gone, the two selectors that we picked had the best answers on this topic," said Singh.

CAC to potential selectors: how will you handle Dhoni's future, Kohli's stature?

The (CAC) had two common questions for the potential national selectors: "how will you handle Mahendra Singh Dhoni's future with the Indian team and skipper Virat Kohli's stature?

Five candidates --Sivaramakrishnan, Prasad, Chauhan, Joshi and Harvinder was asked a common question on Dhoni, who has not played since the World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand in July.

However, the former skipper will lead Chennai Super Kings in the IPL beginning March 29.

"Yes, the CAC had one common question and that was about their call with regards to Dhoni and whether they will select him for T20 World Cup," a senior BCCI official told PTI.

Eventually, Joshi and Harvinder were named the two new selectors in the five-member panel.

It is understood that the new BCCI regime wants the selection committee to have a clear cut stand on Dhoni's international future.

"Dhoni is both a sensitive and tricky issue and that's why the question needed to be asked," the source added.

A few of the candidates were also asked whether they are "only looking at the chairman's post" or they would be happy to become just a selector.

While Sivaramakrishnan was a strong candidate, it is learnt that CAC was not sure if he would have been ready to serve only as a selector under the chairman.

As pointed out by Lal himself, Joshi did not have any issues in working with anyone else at the helm. A shuffle in the selection panel is due in September when the tenure of Paranjpe, Gandhi and Sarandeep ends.

"We liked his straightforward attitude," Lal said after the interviews in Mumbai.

Lal was also asked if Virat Kohli being a strong captain was considered while picking the panel and he said both Joshi and Harvinder had the "best answers" on this particular topic.

"We have this factor the most in our mind. Our captain is a high performing player. We have kept it in mind that we find somebody who can communicate with him, because in the end it is the captain, who has to run the team.

"Captain matters a lot to the team and so it is important on how you communicate with him. What is gone is in the past, the two selectors that we picked had the best answers on this topic."

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Rudra Pratap SinghVirat KohliMahendra Singh Dhoni

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