The new-look national selection committee of the BCCI is set to have a boost in its profile with some of the well-known former India players like Chetan Sharma, Maninder Singh and Shiv Sunder Das applying for the vacant posts from their respective zones. However, Ajit Agarkar, who has 231 international matches (191 ODIs, 26 Tests, 4 T20Is) to his name, could be the frontrunner for the chairman's post in case he decides to re-apply for selector's job.
While Agarkar couldn't be contacted for a comment, it has been learnt that he would throw his hat in the ring and his credentials for the top job will be difficult to ignore considering his vast international experience (three ODI World Cups and one World T20 in 2007).
Although the BCCI has officially got rid of the zonal system, it is highly unlikely that two people from the same zone will be kept in the selection panel. Sunil Joshi from South Zone (84 international games -- 15 Tests and 69 ODIs) was the chairman while the Central Zone was represented by Harvinder Singh. But, some of the applicants in the fray have more international matches than Joshi, who will then have to relinquish his post as per Lodha Committee rule.
"Yes, I have applied for the selector's post. I have no issues being an ordinary member of the panel. My main aim is to serve Indian cricket. I have played alongside legends like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Dilip Vegsarkar, learnt a lot from them," Chetan, India's first hat-trick man in a World Cup (1987) with 88 international games, told PTI.
The 54-year-old had in fact applied in January also but then the BCCI had only replaced South Zone incumbent (MSK Prasad) with Joshi and Harvinder came in place of Gagan Khoda. Another big name who has applied from North Zone is former left-arm spinner Maninder Singh (94 games -- 35 Tests and 59 ODIs).
"Yes, I had applied last time (in January also) and I am applying this time. If given a chance, I will certainly like to give my best shot," said Maninder, who was considerd as Bishan Singh Bedi's ideal replacement in the mid 80's for his prodigious talent.
A senior administrator from North Zone said that Maninder and Chetan's applications are more than welcome. "Last time, it was Sarandeep Singh with less than 10 international games to his credit. It was a cruel joke on the system. At least we have Chetan and Maninder, two very reputed cricketers of their time applying for selector's job," a former BCCI office-bearer from North Zone said.
An interesting choice would be of East Zone where it is always difficult to find too many international cricketers. Das, a dogged opener and world class close-in fielder with 1326 runs in 23 Tests, is a clear favourite from East Zone. He confirmed about applying for the post to PTI.
However, with his state-mate and former India pacer Debasish Mohanty already in the junior panel, the BCCI might not want two people from Odisha in junior and senior selection committees. "Look, if Das applies, his case will be difficult to ignore. In that case, BCCI may try out Debu (Mohanty) as senior selector for next two years and give someone from Bengal that position," an official privy to selection matters said.
There were rumours that former India seamer Subroto Banerjee will apply from East Zone but it is confirmed that "he is not applying" for the job. "Subroto has been a respected bowling coach for some time and he would like to continue as a coach -- be it at the NCA, India U-19 or India A. He is not interested in being national selector," a source close to the cricketer said.
A very interesting candidate is former Bengal pacer Ranadeb Bose, who is currently the state team's bowling coach. Ranadeb was a part of India's Test series winning squad in England (2007) but was unlucky as he did not add an India cap to his 91 first-class and 82 List A games. Ranadeb has created a solid pace bowling unit for Bengal comprising of Akash Deep, Ishan Porel (currently with national team in Australia as net bowler) and Mukesh Kumar.
However, when it comes to Das versus Bose, obviously the former opener is a runaway favourite. But Bose could still be in the fray in case BCCI considers him for junior selector's post, upgrading Mohanty to senior level.