New Delhi:The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) has decided to pay an annual honorarium of Rs 25 lakh to each of five selectors of the national selection committee.
So far the selectors have been doing this thankless task for Indian cricket only as an honorary job. But that won't be the case from now onwards.
The annual general body meeting (AGM) of the Board is due to take place at the Cricket Centre in Mumbai on September 27 and 28 with as many as four of the five current selectors hoping to stay on. But the lobbying is intense this time as for the first time ever selectors will be paid an annual salary.
"The only change I can see is that in the past the selectors had something else to do as well, people at important positions or had other jobs in life. Here once you pay them salary, you will expect them to be there throughout a game, which has never been the case although I know that all the selectors claim TA, DA for all the four days of the match even if they are not there. That will not be the case anymore. There will be a lot of fingers pointing at you if you are not doing your job," feels former cricketer Ajay Jadeja.
The criteria to become a selector are that he should have played for India or at least 25 first-class games. This is not an objectionable point though many people believe that only first-class experience is not good enough.
The BCCI has proposed that a selector should have retired at least 10 years ago so that he does not have to select his former teammates but the proposal is not likely to be cleared.
And the most contentious clause is the one-man one-post requirement which means a selector cannot be an office-bearer of the BCCI or any of its units and this clause is almost certain to be tossed out at the BCCI's AGM later this month.
Dilip Vengsarkar, the current chairman of selectors, would be the hardest hit by this clause. Vengsarkar who is eligible for another term as a selector is the current vice-president of the Mumbai Cricket Association, a job that he is unlikely to give up. Ranjib Biswal, the east zone selector who is also entitled to an extension, is also president of the Orissa Cricket Association.
Venkatpathy Raju does not fulfil the 10-year cooling-off period since he last played in 2001, while Sanjay Jagdale, the central zone selector, is also an official with the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association. In fact if there is no change in these criteria then four of the five current selectors do not qualify to make the cut.
Sadly the promise of ending the zonal selection system was shelved by the Board, as clearly they cannot afford to lose their vote banks.
"Look at the selection that has taken place for the Irani Trophy, Ganguly has been dropped. I think he should have been in the side. It is a British game and there is a saying -- you show me the man and I show you the rule. You dropped Ganguly but what about one of the greatest batsmen in the world? Sachin Tendulkar who has not been performing well or for that matter Rahul Dravid? So the yardstick for everyone should be the same. It is good that they will be given money but giving money will hardly change things. I think this zonal system should go. There should be three best people from three zones and they should be answerable," said Kirti Azzad, a former national selector.
One way or another it's a thankless job but the selectors will hope that along with more money they can now earn a little more respect.