Former selector Mohinder Amarnath has come out and said the Indian selectors were actually thinking of sacking Mahendra Singh Dhoni just after the 4-0 humiliating loss in Australia.
In a tell-all interview to TIMES NOW, Amarnath said, "Definitely, there were discussions to replace Dhoni and people had even agreed to do so, but for some internal reason it didn't happen. I would not like to divulge what the reasons were."
Now, Amarnath may not have wanted to divulge the reasons but the Indian Express went ahead and spoke to one of the selectors -- Raja Venkat about what actually happened.
Amarnath (North Zone), Narendra Hirwani (Central Zone) and Raja Venkat (East Zone) were in favour of removing Dhoni as Test skipper. But the move came a cropper when BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale consulted BCCI president N Srinivasan over the issue.
"Sanjay Jagdale, the BCCI secretary and convener of the national selection committee, consulted BCCI president N Srinivasan who shot down the proposal. Srinivasan made it clear that though the majority of selectors felt that Dhoni didn't inspire confidence as Test skipper, the time was not right to remove him," Venkat told Indian Express.
Now, the constitution doesn't state whether the president can or cannot intervene. It does, however, state that the selectors need to inform the Board president of their decision. Whether the president then agrees or disagrees with their findings is upto him.
But there have been earlier instances of Board president's interfering with the selection process. So this isn't exactly new.
In 1992-93, Mohammad Azharuddin was on the verge of losing the captaincy, and quite possibly his place in the side, after disastrous tours to Australia and South Africa saw him start his captaincy with one win and seven losses. By popular opinion, Kapil Dev was supposed to take over. But then Ajit Wadekar made an impassioned plea to Madhavrao Scindia, who intervened.
The Jagmohan Dalmiya camp are also believed to have solidly stood behind Sourav Ganguly on all occasions.
Then again, as recently as 2005, Sharad Pawar did his best to rehabilitate Sourav Ganguly after he was axed from the team in December.
Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president, told the Times of India, "As a cricket lover, I am hurt and shocked over the exclusion of Ganguly. In the Delhi Test his performance was satisfactory. Also, he was a victorious captain and we feel proud of him".
Pawar let it be known that it is "my prerogative" to sit with the selectors in the next "two or three days" to "understand" what actually happened.
As things turned out, by January 2006, Ganguly was back in the team and he stayed there till 2008.
So when we ask why Dhoni is still here -- then perhaps the philosophical answer is that this is how Indian cricket is run and this is how it has always been run.
The appointment of professional selectors was supposed to change this. But instead, they seem more bothered about getting money in the bank, rather than truly 'earning' it.
Amarnath and Venkat's disclosures show that Indian cricket continues to be run by the administrators but if they were truly serious about wanting to change things, they need not have waited till now. They should have come out in the open and said what they really wanted to when it mattered.
Why have they suddenly decided to come out with a disclosure now? Why don't they tell us why RP Singh was picked for the England tour despite being clearly unfit? Is there another agenda that they are pushing? If the selectors had not had the discussion regarding Dhoni then that would have proved that there was something really wrong with the system.
At some level, you would want the president, the chief selector and the captain to be on the same page but when the partnership starts clouding your judgement, it spells big trouble.
First Published On : Dec 12, 2012 13:00 IST