The nomination of Ajit Agarkar as chairman of the BCCI senior men’s selection committee is considered a step forward for Indian cricket. To begin with, it had ended the four-month wait for a chief selector, which had been vacant since February of this year when Chetan Sharma was forced to resign following a sting operation by a TV news program. As the interim chief selector, SS Das was in charge.
Agarkar is also the most visible selection committee member in over a decade. Apart from 26 Tests and four T20Is, the 2007 T20 World Cup winner has represented India in 191 ODIs. He holds the record for the quickest ODI half-century by an Indian and the fastest Indian to 50 ODI wickets.
Aside from this, another significant reason makes Agarkar’s appointment historic. Agarkar will chair a panel that includes Subroto Banerjee (Central Zone), S Sharath (South Zone), SS Das (East Zone), and Salil Ankola (West Zone). The West Zone will have two selectors, and the North Zone will have none. Chetan Sharma should have been replaced with a former North Zone cricketer, as Ankola was already there from the West Zone.
However, because no other high-profile candidates from the North Zone applied for the selector position, the BCCI was forced to abandon its age-old practice of appointing five selectors from five zones.
However, the Indian cricket board did not violate any rules. Yes, the board has followed a convention for all these years. Still, there is no such provision in its constitution, which was drafted following the recommendations of the RM Lodha committee regarding the nomination of selectors on a zonal basis.
The BCCI did not identify a specific zone in their announcement requesting applications for the position of chairman of selectors on June 22. According to the advertisement, the applicant must have played at least seven Test matches, 30 first-class matches, or 10 ODIs and 20 first-class matches. He should have also left the game at least five years ago.
For many years, the BCCI followed the standard practice of appointing selectors by zone. It was never called into dispute because it allowed for equal representation of member associations from five distinct zones. However, this should be distinct from a rule or legislation.
The BCCI has chosen Ajit Agarkar as India’s men’s chairman of selectors, filling a position that has been empty since February.
The BCCI announced on Tuesday that former India all-rounder Ajit Agarkar has been appointed Chairman of the Indian Senior Men’s Selection Committee.
Ajit Agarkar, the former India T20 World Cup-winning all-rounder, has been named the BCCI’s new men’s team selectors chairman. Agarkar, 45, takes over the role that has been vacant since February following Chetan Sharma’s dismissal following a sting operation conducted on him by a TV channel that landed him in hot water. The BCCI rules state that the committee’s presiding officer must be the most capped Test player among the five members. When it was deemed that Indian cricket needed a chairman with a higher profile than Shiv Sundar Das (23 Tests), the temporary chairman, board officials found it difficult to find a replacement from the North Zone, which Sharma represented.
It will thus be a first for two selections to come from the same zone. Agarkar (26 Tests) and fellow selector Salil Ankola are from the West and the same state unit (Mumbai). According to a source close to the situation, Ankola could make way for a North Zone selector shortly. He will be the selector for India’s visit to the West Indies, where they will play two Tests, three ODIs, and five T20s beginning on July 12. The other selectors are Subroto Banerjee and Sridharan Sharath.
After being interviewed by the Cricket Advisory Committee, which includes Sulakshana Naik, Ashok Malhotra, and Jatin Paranjape, Agarkar emerged as the favorite for the role. Agarkar, who has 349 international wickets in a nine-year career, has an excellent pedigree, having previously excelled in the limited administration roles allocated to him. From 2017 to 2019, Agarkar was the head of selectors for Mumbai and a member of the Delhi Capitals alongside coach Ricky Ponting and director of cricket Sourav Ganguly.
As his official tenure begins, Agarkar’s first and most important responsibility will be to name India’s squad for the five T20Is against the West Indies. The ODI and Test squads were announced last month, but with Indian cricket in transition, which has begun with the T20I set-up sporting a younger and fresher look under Hardik Pandya, Agarkar would like to streamline players who will represent India at the T20 World Cup next year in the West Indies and the United States.
Agarkar was unanimously chosen for the position due to his performing qualifications. Aside from taking around 350 wickets, Agarkar was a vital member of the Indian squad between 1997 and 2007. He holds the world record for the quickest half-century. by an Indian in ODIs, which he achieved against Zimbabwe in 2000. He is one of only three players from that star-studded ‘Fab Five’ era to score an international century at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground, a feat that Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, and Virender Sehwag have yet to achieve.
Agarkar’s accuracy and lethal inswingers with the ball earned him a skiddy customer. He would frequently reach speeds in the early 140s before gradually slowing down. He was crucial in India’s memorable win in Adelaide in 2003 when he bowled a spellbinding spell of 6/41 to break Australia’s back in the second innings. Of course, the Test was remembered for Rahul Dravid’s stunning 233 in the first innings, but Agarkar’s devastation stole the show.
Agarkar was the fastest player to 50 ODI wickets for nearly a decade, needing only 23 matches. His record was beaten three games later by Sri Lankan spinner Ajanta Mendis. Overall, he ranks third behind Nepal spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.
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