With the Lodha Committee advocating the number of selectors to be restricted to just three, former Indian team skipper and director Ravi Shastri has expressed dissent at the proposal by questioning the thought process behind it. The 54-year old believed that the prevalence of a large cricket-playing population does not allow the selection panel to be limited.
Shastri felt, “When I played game, three selectors were enough. But the manner in which interest has grown, the combined number of people who play the game in our country is more than combined population of other cricket playing nations. Australia can have three selectors as they have a population of 17 million (approximate number).
“We have a population of 1.2 billion. You are asking too much from poor guy (selector). They can cover each end of the country but still won’t be enough. I think five (selector) is in order.”
Despite Supreme Court repeatedly pulling up BCCI for failing to implement the Lodha panel’s recommendations, the new selection committee which was appointed to succeed Sandeep Patil’s crew still contained five members with former wicket-keeper batsman MSK Prasad at the helm of affairs alongside the likes of Sarandeep Singh, Gagan Khoda, Devang Gandhi and Jatin Paranjpe.
Interestingly, the appointments raised eyebrows since another recommendation maintained that only former Test players can be eligible for entry into the selection panel. While Prasad, Sarandeep and Gandhi have represented the country in the longest format, Khoda and Paranjpe do not hold Test caps to their names.
Shastri also questioned the three-year cooling off period stipulated by the Lodha committee for BCCI officials by claiming that the new rule may force prospective candidates to veer away from applying for administrative roles within the board.
He asked, “Why would I join BCCI if there’s cooling off period? If I have an idea which is constructive and which I can do, I mean you are telling me to go in three years. What would anyone achieve in three years? How do you know the guy coming after me is competent enough.
“If I have done a competent job, then I should be respected for my competence. There is no harm if I get a six- year term. Then, go for three-year cooling off and come back for another six years. Even Indian presidential candidate gets five years.“
Amidst the ongoing standoff between BCCI and the Supreme Court appointed Lodha panel, the cricketer-turned-commentator called for both parties to resolve their differences in the best interests of Indian cricket.