Ajit Agarkar named India men’s chairman of selectors

Ajit Agarkar, the former India fast bowler, has been named chairman of selectors for the Indian men’s team. Agarkar, 45, filled the position which had been vacant since February after Chetan Sharma stepped down in the wake up of a sting operation conducted on him by an Indian television network.
Agarkar is the fifth member of the India men’s selection panel which already includes Shiv Sunder Das, Salil Ankola, Subroto Banerjee and S Sharath. Having played 26 Test and 191 ODIs, Agarkar is the senior-most member of the panel and as per BCCI rules becomes its chairman. First on their plate is selecting the side for the five T20Is against West Indies starting August 3.
Agarkar, it is understood, was the unanimous choice of the three-person Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Ashok Malhotra, Sulakshana Naik and Jatin Paranjape, which conducted the interviews on Monday. It could not be confirmed whether Agarkar was the solitary applicant for the position for which the BCCI had advertised, with June 30 as the deadline.

This will be the second time Agarkar, who has also played four T20Is for India, will play the role of chairman of selectors, having performed the job at a smaller level for Mumbai between 2017-19. Agarkar was part of the coaching staff at Delhi Capitals for the last two years but they have since parted ways. It is understood that the franchise did not renew his contract.

India are a team in transition, and the uncertainty around their selection panel has only added to that feeling. It all began last year when the BCCI moved away from the convention of giving a chairman two terms and asked for new applications for Chetan’s role following the semi-final loss in the T20 World Cup. But, the board failed to attract a better option, and re-elected Chetan the chairman of selectors only for the sting operation leading to his resignation, which has never been acknowledged by the BCCI.

Agarkar’s appointment results in the panel having two selectors from West Zone, Ankola being the other one. In the BCCI constitution, drafted as per the RM Lodha-committee recommendations, there is no mention of selectors being appointed on a zonal basis; just that the five of them should have been retired for at least five years and played a certain number of matches. While the BCCI has followed an unwritten rule of picking a selector from each of the five zones traditionally, the advertisement for the role never specified it was looking for a candidate from a specific zone.

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