Former India fast bowler Chetan Sharma, along with the fast bowling pair of Abey Kuruvilla and Debasis Mohanty, will be the three new men on the Indian selection committee. The trio will join the pair of Sunil Joshi and Harvinder Singh to complete the five-man committee, with Sharma set to be the chairman of the panel.
The selection of Sharma, Kuruvilla and Mohanty was made by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), led by former India allrounder Madan Lal and which also comprises former India left-arm seamer RP Singh and former India women’s player Sulakshana Naik, on Thursday. Incidentally, four members of the five-member panel will now comprise of seam bowlers.
The BCCI made the announcement through a media release, saying the CAC has “recommended” Sharma as the chairperson of the committee “based on seniority” in terms of his Test-playing experience. Sharma, who turns 55 in January, has played 23 Test matches and was one of the 11 candidates interviewed virtually on Thursday. According to the BCCI, the CAC will conduct a review of the three selectors after one year.
“It’s indeed a privilege for me to get an opportunity to serve Indian cricket once again. I am a man of few words and my action will speak louder than words,” Sharma told PTI. “I can only thank BCCI for this opportunity.”
Lal, RP Singh and Naik “met virtually” on Thursday – the same the day the 89th AGM of the BCCI was held in Ahmedabad – to pick replacements for Jatin Paranjpe, Devang Gandhi and Sarandeep Singh, whose terms ended in September.
Sharma, Kuruvilla and Mohanty were among several candidates who had applied in late November, including Ajit Agarkar, Maninder Singh, Nayan Mongia, SS Das and Ranadeb Bose.
The BCCI had put down a minimum qualification of seven Tests or 30 first-class matches, or 10 ODIs and 20 first-class matches for the applicants. They should have also retired “at least five years previously” and should not have been over 60 years of age.
The first assignment for the new panel will be picking the three squads for the long home tour against England featuring four Tests, five T20Is and three ODIs, starting February 5 next year.
Sharma is the most experienced of the three new names with 23 Tests and 65 ODIs in which he took 61 and 67 wickets respectively, and also struck an ODI century after being promoted to No. 4 against England in 1989. He is, however, famously remembered for taking a hat-trick against New Zealand in the 1987 World Cup. By bowling Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Ewen Chatfield, Sharma became the first bowler to grab a World Cup hat-trick and the first Indian to do so in ODIs.
Mohanty, from Odisha, played two Tests and 45 ODIs from 1997 to 2001 and also featured in the 1999 World Cup. He was India’s second-best bowler in the tournament with 10 wickets from six games at an average of 26, behind Javagal Srinath’s tally of 12. Mohanty also coached his home side Odisha in 2011-12 after taking over from Michael Bevan.
Kuruvilla, who rose to international cricket from Mumbai, took 25 wickets each in the 10 Tests and 25 ODIs he played in 1997. One of the tallest men to bowl for India at 6’6″, Kuruvilla impressed in only his third Test with a five-for against West Indies in Bridgetown in 1997, but fell off the radar soon after. Later he served in various selection panels, heading the India junior selection committee in 2011-12 before being named the Mumbai chief selector in 2012.
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