Ajit Agarkar, a former bowler for India, is the favorite to be the next head of selectors for the India men’s team. He applied for the open spot on the selection committee. The BCCI started looking for a new head of selectors on June 22. The last one, Chetan Sharma, quit in February after a news station set up a sting operation on him. Agarkar sent in his application on June 29 at night, a day before the cutoff. If Agarkar, who is 45 and has played 26 Tests and 191 ODIs for India, is chosen, he will be the most experienced member of the group and will be in charge of choosing the team.
Chetan was on the panel, and he was from the North Zone. With Agarkar’s appointment, the panel will now have two judges from the West Zone. Salil Ankola is the other one. The BCCI constitution, which was written based on the suggestions of the RM Lodha committee, doesn’t say anything about how selectors are chosen. It only says that the five selectors should have been retired for at least five years and played a certain number of matches. The BCCI has always followed an unwritten rule of choosing a selection from each of the five zones, but it never said in the job posting that it wanted someone from a certain zone.
The other three are Shiv Sunder Das, S. Sharath, and Subroto Banerjee. Das is the head right now because he is the one who has traveled the most.
India is a team that is going through a lot of changes, so it is very important to have a stable selection panel with a clear goal and a lot of continuity. But the selection committee hasn’t been stable since last year, when the BCCI broke with the tradition of giving a head two terms and asked for new applications for Chetan’s job after India lost in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. But the board couldn’t find a better candidate, so they re-elected Chetan as head of selectors, despite the sting operation that led to his resignation, which the BCCI has never acknowledged.
The fact that the head of selectors is paid just over INR 1 crore per year is a big problem for India. Any past cricketer can easily make more money by working in the media, which is less scrutinized than being a national selector, or by coaching in T20 leagues.
Agarkar also worked in the media, but he was also a coach for the Delhi Capitals in the IPL. On June 29, the Capitals’ Twitter account said that both Agarkar and Shane Watson had left the team. Agarkar was also the chairman of selection for Mumbai’s domestic cricket team from 2017 to 2019, when the whole group suddenly quit.
Agarkar has the weight and experience that the BCCI is looking for in a potential head of selectors, but it is still unclear if the board will look at how much the selectors are paid.