It now appears as if Chetan Sharma is likely to continue in his role as Chief National Selector for the Indian men’s cricket team. That is despite the selection panel that he previously headed being dissolved as part of the fall-out from India’s T20I World Cup semi-final defeat to England.
Although other candidates have been interviewed for the position, the BCCI appear to have decided that he is the best man for the job.
Sharma was initially appointed to the job in December 2020, but India’s performances in 2022 appeared to have cost him his job. Not only did they suffer the World Cup loss to England, but they failed to win the Asia Cup.
Following the World Cup exit, the entire selection committee that he headed was dissolved and candidates invited to apply for the roles.
Sharma himself applied for his old job back and was interviewed along with seven other former cricketers.
And now it appears that he has managed to convince the selection committee that is the best qualified for the job after all.
Perhaps the selection criteria were too onerous after all.
The ideas candidate was described as having played a minimum of seven Tests or 30 First Class matches, or 10 ODIs and 20 First Class Matches.
Involved in performance review
In fact, the move was telegraphed by the fact that he was one of the man who recently conducted the annual performance review of the Indian team which was held at a luxury hotel in Mumbai.
Whilst it was no surprise that team coach Rahul Dravid, captain Rohit Sharma, and NCA chief VVS Laxman were all present, with BCCI President Roger Binny dialling in remotely, the fact that Sharma was sat around the table was unexpected in the eyes of some observers.
Clearly, he has been absolved of some of the responsibility for what India achieved – or failed to – on the pitch.
Singh also likely to continue
It also appears that Harvinder Singh is also likely to continue to operate alongside Sharma, having been interviewed as well.
The Selection Committee
The role of the Selection Committee was to select the members of the teams to represent India at various national levels. The initial term of each members was for two years, with the option for any extra year based on performance.
Apart from Sharma and Singh, the other members of Committee prior to its dissolution were Sunil Joshi and Debashish Mohanty.
One of the criticisms of the way that the Committee worked was that because each selector represented a different zone of India, they had natural bias towards players who came from that area of the country.
That made it harder than it might otherwise to have achieved consensus, and also meant that the best players were not always selected for their respective national teams.
It is a tough job
Being a national selector is not an easy job, even if the pay is decent at around US $130,000 a year.
The role is not glamorous since it carries a lot of responsibility, and they are often the first to be blamed when something goes wrong.
It is why many ex-players choose to move into the commentary box or take up a role in the media instead. The hours are shorter, there is less pressure, and they tend to enjoy a higher profile.
Arguably, it is tougher in India than in many other countries. First, there is the sheer volume of talent available, which means that at any selection meeting, there can be anything of up to 20 players left disappointed and all of whom will have their supporters in the media claiming it was a scandal they were left out.
And then there is the expectation level in a country where cricket, for millions of people, cricket has the same status as a religion. They expect India to win every single match in which they compete at whatever level, and when they do not, somebody has to take the blame.
More often than not it is the selectors who end up carrying the can.
Sharma may have kept his job, but some may feel that he is welcome to it. The next time India lose a match he has to avoid social media.
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