The following is a piece I wrote on the issue a few days back. Please put in your thoughts as well on the way forward for the Indian selection committee.
The process by which the Indian selection committee is formed has been a reason for disgruntlement for many years. Each of the five zones selects a representative and the five member selection panel then selects the Indian cricket team. The captain and the coach do not have a vote though they remain present in the selection meetings and have a say.
With Kiran More’s remarks against the voting system itself (which he denied later), the chance to review the whole system emerges, not for the first time. V.B.Chandrashekhar, the South Zone selector has remarked, “the chairman should be a strong person who sets the vision for the committee. Interaction with the captain and coach is important. Then there is no question of voting.” An overhaul has been long overdue but the big question is – what should be the structure of the new committee?
Should the five member body be done away with? India is around the same size as Australia but has many more first class teams as opposed to six of Australia which means much more players to keep track of. So while a three member committee can suit Australia, it is practical hindrance for India. A four or five member committee is needed. The bigger area of debate is regarding whether the zonal process should remain or be scrapped. The biggest flaw with the zonal process is the baggage of the zone which is carried along with the job. As each zone nominates a selector, the selector s directly responsible to it’s zone and performance is judged on how many players from the zone the selector has been able to “push through”. The selection committee is autonomous in name only thus.
What is needed is a committee formed not on the basis of who is who’s man but on credentials. The number of selectors – four or five isn’t an area of concern. It is important that the people who eventually become selectors are credible and proven. The argument against doing away with the zonal system is – if two or three people are selected from a particular state, would they would be naturally biased for their zones. This is where credibility of the people appointed is needed – so that fingers cannot be raised easily.
The committee appointed should remain for at least three or four years. Only then can an idea of the committee flow. The Australians were able to build the team under the leadership of Allan Border because they had a constant selection panel and their ideas were able to be implemented over a period of time. A shocking aspect is that the job of the Indian selector is honorary. If you want good selectors, you should pay them well and there is no reason why the BCCI cannot and won’t do it in the future.
V.B.Chandrashekhar spoke regarding the voting system but I don’t see why voting should be done away with. Without voting rights, the selectors are there in name only and no real power exists. The captain and coach should be given a joint vote as well. After all, they come under flack when the team does badly and it is only logical that they have a say in matters related to the team. In case of a tie in the votes, the chairman should have the final say and with that, he would have a bit more say and most matters would be resolved with consensus as well.
The debate has started regarding what should be done regarding the selection committee. It is clear that the current system is flawed – it has been clear for many years. A change seems imminent now. What will be that change and will it be a massive improvement to the current system are the tougher questions which the BCCI will have to answer in the coming few months.