Former Indian cricketer Shiv Sunder Das was all set to be named as a national selector before the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rejected his application at the last moment after discovering that he had played his last first-class game – a Ranji Trophy encounter between Vidharbha and Delhi which concluded on January 1, 2013 – much less than the five-year stipulation laid out by the BCCI for retired cricketers.
According to the Indian Express, SS Das’s name was the one finalised up until three hours before the five-man committee headed by MSK Prasad was officially announced. However, after finding the mismatch, the BCCI decided to rope in another former Indian opener in Devang Gandhi as the final member of the selection panel which consists of Gagan Khoda, Jatin Paranjpe and Sarandeep Singh as the other members.
SS Das is easily the most successful cricketer to have emerged out of the Indian state of Odisha and was a member of the first batch inducted to the National Cricket Academy at Bengaluru in 2000 and went on to represent the national side in 23 Tests and 4 ODIs. He last played for India in 2002 which probably explains why Das applied for the selector’s post.
However, the BCCI made it clear that they would not compromise on their stipulation that any applicant should have retired from all formats of the game at lease five years prior to the date of application.
“He (Das) was our first choice but we later realised that he wasn’t fulfilling that particular criterion. Probably he misunderstood the criteria and thought the board would consider his name based on the fact that his last international game for India came more than 10 years ago. So almost at the last minute, we had to make a change and bring in Devang Gandhi,” a source in the BCCI told Indian Express.
With the newly-appointed selection committee lacking in the number of international matches they have played, there were suggestions from some quarters that former Indian fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad, who heads the junior selection committee, could have been promoted to the senior panel. However, BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke explained that they were only looking at filling the vacancies following the tenure completion of the previous selection panel, including chief selector Sandeep Patil.
“We have only filled up the selectors’ vacancies as they were created. So two selectors had completed their term of four years, the maximum which has been granted to anybody so we have filled it up and the senior-most person (MSK Prasad) has been elevated to the chairman’s position,” Shirke told reporters after the conclusion of the AGM on Wednesday.