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Opinion: How players from Karnataka have been given step-motherly treatment time and again by BCCI

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Rahul Dravid's exquisite Square Drive
Rahul Dravid's exquisite Square Drive

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There was a time when the Indian Cricket Team had 4 to 5 Karnataka players playing in the team. In the '60s and '70s, legends like Chandrashekar, Prasanna, Viswanath, Brijesh Patel and Syed Kirmani were regularly playing for the country. In the '80s & '90s, though, there was a lean period, when only Roger Binny and S. Viswanath played for India in ODIs occasionally.

In the early '90s, Anil Kumble broke into the Indian team. In the 1996 Tour of England, 6 players from Karnataka made it to the team- Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Sunil Joshi, Venkatesh Prasad, Javagal Srinath and Dodda Ganesh. While Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad were the spearheads of pace bowling for quite some time in the team, Sunil Joshi and Dodda Ganesh played a few tests and faded away. Only Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, because of their immense talent, played for India for almost 16-17 years.

Since then though, there have been very few players from Karnataka representing India. Vinay Kumar was one player who made it to Indian team with the sheer weight of his domestic performance. But he was dumped after a couple of seasons. Abhimanyu Mithun played a couple of tests and Sreenath Aravind played only one ODI.

Enter capti
Two of the best players Karnataka has produced

1) K L Rahul, with an amazing performance in the Domestic Ranji Trophy, was selected for the Tour of Australia and though he failed in his debut Test, he scored a century in his second Test. He went on to score three more centuries in Tests. After a break due to injury, he came back and scored 7 consecutive half centuries in Tests. Due to chopping and changing of the opening slot, he temporarily lost form. Since then he has been treated very badly by team selection committee, for no apparent reason except, in my opinion, for the fact that he is from Karnataka. Now his confidence is shattered and he is struggling to find form. He is not in the playing eleven for Tests and T20s and not even in the 16 player squad for ODIs. 

2) Karun Nair who is only 2nd player to score a triple century in tests, was dropped for the next test in favour of Mumbai's Ajankya Rahane and is struggling to find consistent form even in Domestic Matches now.

3) Manish Pandey, though a regular inclusion in T20s, is finding it difficult to break into the Indian ODI team. Less accomplished players like Shreyes Iyer and Shardul Thakur have been given chance after chance.

4) Mayank Agarwal, who has scored a record 2160 runs in the last four months in Ranji Trophy and other List A matches, has not even been considered for the upcoming T20 tri series though other lesser performing players have, and 5 top players including Kohli and others are rested.

5) K Goutham, one of the top wicket-taking spinners in the Domestic circuit, has not been considered.

This treatment does not stop with players only, as even in the BCCI selection committee, Karnataka members have been given a step-motherly treatment of sorts by BCCI.

6) G.R. Viswanath was unceremoniously removed as Chairman of Selection Committee in 1990s. Kirmani was shown the door in favour of other selectors who were not up to his caliber. Roger Binny was dumped in the middle of his term.

7) To cap it all, Anil Kumble was forced to resign in favour of Ravi Shastri, only because of Kumble's strict and no-nonsense approach.

8) Only Late Shri M Chinnaswamy could become the President of BCCI. Brijesh Patel and M Nagaraj, who were office bearers of Karnataka State Cricket Association for more than two and half decades, were not considered for even the post of BCCI Secretary, let alone President.

This is how players and individuals from Karnataka have faced discrimination time and again at the hands of the BBCI. It is high time the selection for the team as well as other positions in BCCI is done in a transparent and fair manner.

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