Was it a case of the left hand not knowing what the right was doing? The selectors of North Zone had picked a squad that caused a sort of tumult in the power circles of Indian cricket. Some franchises instantly objected to the decision and the Board of Control for Cricket in India was forced to intervene.
The problem started with the announcement of the zonal team for the Duleep Trophy, which had initially included players such as Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rajat Bhatia, Harbhajan Singh — all bound for the Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa.
This decision has apparently enraged a few franchises who immediately knocked the BCCI’s doors, demanding that the players involved in the Champions League be relieved from their zonal duties.
The board, it is understood, then advised the selectors not to pick the players of the teams participating in the Twenty20 tournament. The Champions League, minus the qualifiers, will be held between October 13 and 28, while the Duleep Trophy is from October 6 and 25. The players could have played the first Duleep Trophy match from October 6 to 9, but the franchises say the players would have to travel to South Africa early for acclimatisation.
The franchise pressure led to significant changes in the North Zone squad. A zonal selector, however, downplayed the issue. “We had foreseen this situation and selected a few stand-byes. So, it was not a great issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, the new selection committee informally met in Rajkot recently. Sandeep Patil & Co had a few brainstorming sessions during the Challenger Trophy and have decided to visit different venues of the Duleep Trophy games. They will converge again in Chennai during the final.
As of now, the selectors have no idea about their first assignment. They are waiting for a word from the BCCI.