Former India spinner Sunil Joshi was on Wednesday named chairman of the national selection panel by the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), which also picked ex-pacer Harvinder Singh in the five-member group.
The CAC, comprising Madan Lal, R P Singh and Sulakshana Naik, named the two selectors. Joshi replaces MSK Prasad (South Zone), who had an extended run after completing his four-year tenure.
“The committee recommended Mr Sunil Joshi for the role of Chairman of the senior men’s selection committee,” read a statement from BCCI Secretary Jay Shah.
In an unprecedented decision, the BCCI said the CAC will review the panel’s performance after one year and “make recommendations” accordingly.
Harvinder was chosen from central zone and replaces Gagan Khoda in the panel.
The existing members of the selection panel are Jatain Paranjpe (West), Devang Gandhi (East) and Sarandeep Singh (North).
“We have picked the best guys for the job. We picked them (Joshi and Harvinder) because they were clear in their views,” Lal told PTI.
Specifically on Joshi, Lal said: “We liked his straight-forward attitude. He is experienced also (having been part of the Bangladesh support staff)”.
The CAC had shortlisted five candidates for interviews — Joshi, Harvinder, Venkatesh Prasad, Rajesh Chauhan and L S Sivaramakrishnan — from a list of 40 applicants.
The likes of Ajit Agarkar and Nayan Mongia did not even make the short-list but the former will be back in contention after Paranjpe’s term ends in September along with Gandhi and Sarandeep.
Joshi’s selection from South Zone and Harvinder getting picked from Central Zone also shows that the Board has stuck with the zonal policy.
Their predecessors, Prasad and Khoda, who were appointed back in 2015 and given an extension last November.
The 49-year-old Joshi played 15 Tests and 69 ODIs between 1996 and 2001, taking 41 and 69 wickets respectively.
Harvinder, who is 42, represented India in three Tests and 16 ODIs between 1998 and 2001, taking four and 24 scalps respectively.
The playing credentials of the Prasad-led panel were often questioned and this time too, the CAC decided to pick Joshi and Harvinder over more experienced candidates.
In the media interaction held after the announcement, Lal said the BCCI office-bearers, including president Sourav Ganguly, gave the CAC a free hand in choosing the candidates.
“Ganguly did not even say a word,” added Lal.