Selection cartel in DDCA must end: CAC chairman Atul Wassan

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
New Delhi, Dec 4 : For former India pacer Atul Wassan, December comes with bitter-sweet memories vis-a-vis Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). Exactly a year after he was removed as chairman of the senior selection committee, he was appointed chairman of the DDCA’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) on Friday. Letting the past behind him, he now wants to “layout a roadmap” for Delhi cricket for at least one-and-a-half years, and end a “selection cartel” that appeases clubs.

The CAC, interestingly, comprises three former India pacers, Robin Singh (junior) and Parvinder Awana being the others. DDCA president Rohan Jaitley has appointed the committee.

Wassan, 52, said he would present his roadmap to Jaitley when he meets him soon and would try and ensure that appeasement in selection is done away with. Besides, he would like to revitalise the system with a long-term view.

“There is no structure in Delhi; there is no proper year-round cricket system in place. And there is no in-house DDCA academy, and in its absence talented boys can’t train all-year round. I have a roadmap and I would like to implement it, if allowed. I will present it to Rohan, and he understands that,” Wassan told IANS.

Wassan, who played four Tests and nine One-day Internationals in 1990-91, seems most annoyed with interference in selection matters, something that he said he experienced as chairman of the Delhi selection committee last season.

“Delhi’s selection system is too myopic. The system of appeasement of clubs has to stop; this cartel has to end. Selectors often pick players to please clubs. What is also happening these days is that the DDCA asks clubs to send a few names for selection trials,” he said.

“But it is not necessary that those four or five names that are sent are actually the best four-five players in that club; these could be the coach’s favourite players. This way we can’t select the best teams, because every coach thinks his players must be selected. That makes the selection very subjective.”

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Wassan cited the example of Saurashtra as an association that has improved by leaps and bounds, and said they won the Ranji Trophy last year as they have a good system in place.

Although the CAC has been appointed for a year — Jaitley’s term is only till June when elections become due — Wassan would like it to be at least a one-and-a-half year assignment so that, as he says, Delhi cricket benefits.

For better results from the DDCA league, Wassan wants to rejig the system as he feels it is not producing the desired goods.

“The league has to become more competitive. The traditionalist might think the talent would come to the fore only from multi-day cricket matches. But I believe that if you organise T20 cricket, you will find more talent, which you can spot and nurture. Suppose you pick 20 players out of a T20 league, 10 of those might turn out to be good for longer version of the game as well,” he reasoned.

Wassan hastened to point out that he was completely in sync with the changing game. “I am pretty contemporary, and I know the changes that the game is undergoing, as I am involved as a commentator,” he said.

The CAC’s job entails it to recommend to the DDCA president names for appointment of selection committees, coaches, managers, support staff, besides recommending the terms and conditions of appointment of these people.

As per the roles and responsibilities assigned to it, the CAC’s jurisdiction would end after recommending the names for the various positions.

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“But a larger implementation is always there, because whoever is appointed selector, there is pressure on him. I have been a selector, and I can take the pressure because I can take people on. But the others may not have that kind of courage; they need these jobs [as one of the sources of income]. This way teams are not made. You need people who don’t need these jobs,” said the man who was chief selector in 2017-18 when Delhi lost to Vidarbha in the final of the Ranji Trophy.

Wassan may confront some of his former Delhi or India teammates when they appear for interviews for the various positions. How will he tackle with that situation and remain neutral?

“They will bring their credentials to the table, after all. It will not be done based on sentiments. It doesn’t happen that way. No undeserving candidate would get through,” he assured.

Wassan also pointed out a “connect” between the three members of the CAC: Robin Singh junior has played alongside him for Delhi and Awana has played a generation after them.

Talking of the “connect”, Wassan will get associated with DDCA exactly a year after he was sacked as chairman of the senior selection committee by the then CAC that comprised, ironically, of Robin Singh and Awana while the third member, Sumit Narwal, abstained from the meeting at which the decision to sack him was taken.

Wassan, Robin, and Awana will now work together.

Rajat Sharma later resigned following infighting in his team, and Jaitley came to power last month. With a change at the helm, Wassan also changed his mind and is ready for a fresh start, letting bygones be bygones.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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