Mumbai: Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials and ex-cricketers of India have urged the selection committee to not ring out non-cricketing issues beyond proportion.
They also responded strongly to a sting operation by a television channel and alleged that the media overstepped its bounds.
The reactions stemmed in the aftermath of a coup pulled off by a news channel. Selectors Bhupinder Singh (Sr), Venkatapathy Raju, Ranjib Biswal and Sanjay Jagdale were shown as saying that members of Team India had fallen into different camps during the World Cup.
Pranab Roy told Cricketnext that barring Jagdale, who was with the team in the West Indies, none of the selectors can lay claim to a first-hand account of the off-field issues. He maintained that one has to be with the core group to know what is going on in the dressing room.
He held that the selectors must have interpreted things as they heard them, and were probably falling for Chinese Whispers. "Instead of feeding grist to the media mill they should come out in the open with substantial proof of the matter. Why do we need a sting operation to treat a serious problem?" he asked.
Roy alluded to India’s triumph in the 1983 World Cup and recalled that even in those days there were talks of a fall out between Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev. "Once we won that tournament all talks of rift were airbrushed from memory. Every time Team India loses we feel the players are not bonding well," he said.
The media’s aggressive methods haven’t gone down well with them. A former Board official, who didn’t want to be quoted, told Cricketnext, "Office bearers will feel let down after this. In future they will be wary of talking to the media."
Kiran More agreed that sting operation has become part of the media culture. He reckons that there are too many channels, awash in commercialism. They will do anything to eke out a story, even if it means resorting to ungainly methods, he said.
Former national selector Ashok Malhotra felt that there was nothing new in the revelations, and the selectors made public what the whole of India has been speculating.
He said, "I might say hundred things in the privacy of my drawing room but that may not put things in perspective. The selector trusted you and stuck his neck out. Don’t be surprised if in future both the BCCI and the players become hostile to the media."
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