Circa April 2013 — Sandeep Patil quits as Mumbai's chief selector on moral grounds. Why? Because he can't find time to to watch local cricket. Fast-forward to April 2014 and the dashing former India batsman, who also heads the senior national selection committee of the BCCI, is back in the hot seat in Mumbai. Why? Because the MCA has made his job easier by giving him the option of watching a few important matches.
While there is no denying that Mumbai Cricket Association will be better off if stalwarts like Patil hold important positions, the 'real reason' behind the 57-year-old's decision to take up the dual role once again is that the Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided not to send Patil or his colleagues — Vikram Rathour (North Zone), Roger Binny (South Zone), Rajinder Singh Hans (Central Zone) and Saba Karim (East Zone) — abroad to watch Team India. BCCI and MCA vice-president Ravi Savant revealed this and more at a hastily-arranged press conference on Saturday.
When reminded that Patil's BCCI commitments would still leave him with little time for Mumbai cricket, Savant said, "I think now these national selectors will not be travelling out of the country. Earlier, the selectors also used to tour with the Indian team. Yes, it's the BCCI's policy that they will not be sent out," Savant told reporters.
Savant, the most forthright BCCI official around, actually revealed an open secret. One can't remember a selector travelling with the Indian team in recent memory. Not in South Africa. Not in New Zealand. And certainly not in Bangladesh. Even though Savant didn't spell out the reasons behind the board's decision, rumour has it that the team management wasn't keen on any of the five wise men being around.
Coach ki khoj
Savant also informed that the MCA will appoint coaches for various age groups, including the senior team, on Monday. Ajit Agarkar, Balvinder Singh Sandhu, Paras Mhambrey, Sairaj Bahutule, Pravin Amre and Sandeep Dahad are in the reckoning. "The managing committee will interview the candidates on Monday," Savant said. It may be recalled that Mumbai had a torrid time this season, one which cost coach Sulakshan Kulkarni his job.
Savant also said that each and every player who makes the list of probables will have to play at least five local club matches to be considered for selection. "We are also taking a policy decision that all our probables, who will be selected to play for Mumbai, will have to play a minimum of five local matches in the elite group (of local cricket) before they are eligible for selection and we will be implementing that," he said. When asked if the rule to apply to the Zaheer Khans and Rohit Sharmas, Savant said, "It applies to everybody. There is no exception. Unless, of course, the said player is on national duty."