Monday, October 1, 2012

Jimmy Amarnath dropped again - Sandeep Patil is the new Chairman Selection Committee


In 1980, when India played Pakistan at Chepauk, we anxiously waited him to come to the crease – having seen and supported him in the nets too – he was the star of those years – touted to be a very powerful hitter – that he never did justice to his potential was another matter……… it is the man who has now become the Chairman of Selection Committee.  Indian Cricket from Ground to Board Room – is as exciting as ever.. Krish Srikkanth after the successful tenure of WC 2011 victory finds a natural way out, replaced by Sandeep Patil.

More is spoken about Jimmy - Mohinder Amarnath Bhardwaj   - the Mr Gutsy cricketer and the great comebackman.  Son of Lala Amarnath, the first post-independence captain of India, he has seen more downs than ups, some brought about by self. . His brother Surinder Amarnath  also played for India, whilst another brother Rajinder played Ranji.  His tenure as selector of  Indian National team has been terminated rather abruptly – as there are more views  to the sordid episode.  Mohinder sure had seen more downs despite some heroic innings on tour, especially at a hostile Pakistan and in West Indies, just before the euphoric WC 1983.  Mohinder made his debut in 1969 as a quick-bowling all rounder but at his peak, he was a top order batsman who always played at No. 3 for India. He had to wait till 1975 after his debut series to play reflects the way he was treated.  In the Imran dominated series at Pak, he scored 3 great tons in losing cause and against the toughest pace quarter in the Caribbean, he scored runs in buckets. At the  fourth at Barbados, reputedly the fastest pitch of them – India made  209 and 277; Mohinder contributed  91 and 80. Raw courage.

Sandeep Madhusudan Patil played alongside Mohinder in the 1983 World Cup – known for his hard hitting, he had some great innings – years later he coached Kenya in 2003 WC; coached Indian Juniors and has unquestionable credentials as a Sports administrator too besides  his 1588 runs in 29 tests and 1005 runs in ODIs.

In the 1980-81 tour Down Under, he scored 64 in ODI debut and was the Man of the match.  In the first test at Sydney, he was hit on the throat by Hogg and left bleeding in right ear by a bouncy Len Pascoe.   In the next Test at Adelaide, he hit a spectacular 174  which had twenty two fours and a six.  He was dropped after some failures and against England at Manchester,  he hit Bob Willis for six fours (4440444, the third ball being a no ball) -  racing from 73 to 104 in nine balls. He was 129 not out when rain brought an early end to the match.

That Sandeep Patil, currently  Operations Director at the National Cricket Academy, has been appointed chairman of the senior selection committee for a maximum term of four years to be renewed each year by the BCCI. He is part of a new five-member panel appointed by the Board, others being Roger Binny, Saba Karim, Vikram Rathour and Rajinder Singh Hans. Indian cricket will thus have a new set of selectors. The earlier panel headed by K. Srikkanth had completed its tenure, except North Zone selector Mohinder Amarnath, who had completed one year and was due for re-appointment. The selectors’ remuneration has been hiked from Rs. 40 lakh to Rs. 60 lakh in case of senior panel and Rs. 25 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh for the junior selectors.


Asked about the line of thought in excluding a player of Amarnath’s stature, despite having three years left in his term, Srinivasan said: “The issue is not about the credentials of a person, just that BCCI wants a new face. The five selectors are chosen for a maximum four-year term and elected annually. I cannot go into the reason (behind Mohinder Amarnath’s exclusion) and don’t want it to go into a public debate.

Today’s report in Indian Express makes an interesting reading as it states that while BCCI’s decision to not renew north zone selector Mohinder Amarnath’s contract may not have come as a surprise, the reason behind the snub was rather unusual.  It is learnt that an incident during India’s tour of Australia in 2011-12 may have played a major role in Amarnath’s contract not being extended.

Amarnath had presented a bat belonging to his father Lala Amarnath to James Sutherland, Cricket Australia CEO, reportedly telling him that the memorabilia would be treasured more by CA than by BCCI. “Yes, I presented the bat to Cricket Australia for their museum,” Amarnath confirmed to The Indian Express. The former player refused to comment on whether the incident was behind the board’s rebuff. Those on the touring party say the incident triggered the rift between Amarnath and the board, which is in the process of setting up a cricket museum.

“We were aware of the incident and it did not go down too well with us. We have ambitious plans for our own museum and this piece of memorabilia would have been more suited here,” said a member of the board.

Will the phoenix rise again and whether the irrepressible Mohinder could make yet another come back is seen with pessimism, by those who know the Board well.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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