For selector’s seat, ex-players get politicking

Back in early 2011, Shashank Manohar, then in his role as Board of Control for Cricket in India president, had an unlikely visitor at his doorstep in Nagpur. The caller was a former cricketer, who also coached a Ranji Trophy outfit at some point. This man, the cricketer-turned-coach, had a request for Manohar, pleaded after falling sprawled out on his feet.

"Please name me in the next national selection committee from my zone," he is said to have asked for.

While this particular aspirant's cry might sound preposterous, he wasn't the only one who reached bizarre levels over the last 12 months.

Some spent tens of thousands of rupees on their phone-bills in lieu of courtesy calls. Others spent festival days ensuring that their 'sources' in the media, the BCCI and anyone they thought was linked with picking the panel received their earnest greetings.

This was the build-up to the BCCI picking its first-ever national selection committee after the job ceased to be honorary—mid-way through Kris Srikkanth & Co's tenure. And everyone who found himself eligible was throwing his hat into the ring, hoping that it lands around the Rs 60 lakh a year grand-prize. Not to forget the many perks that come along the way. The incessant foreign travel, the $300 a day travel allowances and plenty of publicity.

These networking lobbyists, it will be fair to say, did not get the job. And in that sense, it was the truly deserving — men who had served as top players and who know a thing or two about selection — who landed the hot seats. All five of them.

While announcing the next national selection committee on Thursday, BCCI president N Srinivasan did admit that the process had been a tedious one this time around, and that more former cricketers seemed to be interested in scoring a selectors' post than ever before. It's been a lot more laborious for the dreamy-eyed candidates, however.

... contd.

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