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Readers sound off on: The national selectors, and Rajesh ChauhanThe national selectors
The Rajesh Chauhan controversy
January 8, 1998
It is useless to talk about the thick skinned selection
committee. Why don't you, along with other reputed sports
journalists in the country, put up a common cause and do
something? Like, say, write an open letter to the Sports Minister,
Prime Minister or the President of India? May be you can appeal
to the great players of yesteryears -- we will all be behind you
without any doubt.
Prem Panicker: Given that the BCCI is an autonomous body, there is precious little the sports ministry and other government bodies/individuals can do, really. The person who can make a difference is the president of the BCCI, and one step into forcing him to take positive steps is the pressure of public opinion. That is why we provided the address of Raj Singh Dungarpur, so that the readers can directly write to him, informing him of their disillusionment. Meanwhile, sections of the media are exploring other avenues, we will update you as and when something concrete materialises.
From: Srinivas Kasaraneni <Srini2324@aol.com>
I can understand your feelings, but don't make the captaincy issue a muddy one by making fun of Azharuddin. I sincerely believe selectors made a wrong decision, but your articles are clearly making fun of Azharuddin which is unforgiveable. Your articles are adding to the already existing confusion in Indian cricket. And its also clear that your articles are based upon your own conclusions, and also you are trying to rub them on everybody. Try to be more responsible while writing this kind of articles.
Prem Panicker: Srinivas, with due respect, I am not sure what the issue is, here. First, as you yourself state, the selectors did make a wrong decision -- we merely report, and analyse, those decisions, and that is all. As to making fun of Azharuddin, sorry, such is definitely not our intention. In the original piece, I had in fact clearly mentioned that the sacking of Azhar after the England tour was wrong. Further, that there is no question of his calibre and achievements as a player. Still further, that by any yardstick he would rank among the greatest players India has produced. The only thing being called into question is whether he deserves, at this point in his career, to be made captain -- we think not. As to the articles being based on my own conclusions -- of course they are, whose conclusions would I base them on otherwise? I definitely do not claim to be infallible, I do not ask that every word I write be taken as gospel, there is no question of foisting my views on every reader. My views are there, written under my name, it is for the reader to agree or disagree, there is obviously no compulsion to do the one or the other. Finally, I would like to point out that I, along with my colleagues in the media, neither create, nor perpetuate, the existing confusion -- rather, we merely report it.
From: Kumar Nagarajan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Your article on the Lankan board's action in picking Kumara Dharmasena was interesting and I back your views. But at this point we need to understand the repercussions on the Sri Lankan team for including Dharmasena in the playing 11 for the Zimbabwe tour. Can the ICC take any action against the Sri Lankan board ? Can this action jeopardize the career of the bowler? That would probably explain the Indian board's reaction to the ICC appeal to drop Rajesh Chauhan.
Prem Panicker: The ICC cannot take any action against the Sri Lankan board, or against the individual player. The ICC can, at best, instruct its umpires to keep an eye on the bowler concerned, and call him if and when a particular delivery is deemed to be a "throw" -- which in any event is provided for under the laws governing the game. Besides this, there is no action the global body can take.
From: Jodhawat <email@example.com>
The more I read of the Indian cricket board, the more disheartened I become. It is indeed sad to see that no matter how talented (or otherwise) the players are, they will always be victimised by the spinelessness of the board. I refer Redif to Geoffrey Boycott's article in a recent article in India Today, wherein he says that the system has to change. Meanwhile, do pass my condolences on to Indian cricket team, may it rest in peace.
From: Raghu Madabushi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I seriously doubt all the conspiracy theories doing the rounds, like
the one which goes, Simpson is
an Aussie, and hence, since Rajesh was in a good form and the Aussies
suspect against offies, he's inventing new ways
of playing the off-spinner, by trying to ban him.
Prem Panicker replies: Raghu, first up, Rediff has not, to the best of my knowledge, propagated either of the conspiracy theories mentioned above. We have, however, wondered -- and still do -- why, if this is part of a global clean-up campaign, why the four bowlers in question are alone being named -- surely it is no one's contention that there aren't other bowlers out there who chuck at times? As to the Kapil-Gavaskar part, the sequence was: the ICC questioned Chauhan's action, the BCCI asked Kapil and Gavaskar to examine the evidence, which included the ICC's own tape, the two Indians did so and reported that as per the available evidence, there was no indication that Chauhan chucks. In other words, that the evidence was not conclusive either way. This is the second time the ICC is questioning Chauhan's action, not the first. As to the logic or otherwise, we at least are certainly not suggesting that Chauhan, or any other bowler, should be allowed to get away with chucking -- all that is being argued is, gather enough evidence to prove, conclusively, either his guilt or innocence before you brand him a "chucker" and suggest remedial action. It will be argued that the ICC did do so, vide the tapes Bobby Simpson collected and the technical panel evaluated. However, if that is the case, shouldn't those same tapes be shown to the player concerned, first? And shouldn't someone in authority point out to him, via said tapes, which the problem areas are? As matters stand, the bowler is still totally clueless, and to our mind, this is the saddest part of the entire episode.
From: Ven Hari @wayne.edu>
Common law dictates that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. In the case of Chauhan, he has been adjudged guilty on two occassions without any real proof. I agree with you that it is up to the umpires to decide whether a bowler chucked the ball or not. Here again, a bowler may perhaps chuck one ball and not the others in the over, and again, it is for the umpire to spot the throw and declare it as a no ball. You have done a great job by pointing out the spineless act of the BCCI. Hopefully, the outcry from the press and fans would act as a wake up call and the BCCI would think before they leap.
From: Satish Narayanan <email@example.com>
I have been visiting Rediff's cricket section for about a month now. I am really disappointed
with the things happening in Iindian cricket.
I have some questions on these things.
Editor's reply: First, the selectors are essentially nominated by the respective zonal associatons, and chosen by the BCCI. As to the second, no, sorry, it is not possible, the President's powers do not extend to the BCCI.
From: Sudip Basu <SudipB@calmicro.com>
I want to congratulate you for the excellent series of reports regarding the Indian team selection. But I have a question for you: are you writing all these in some Indian newspapers as well?Because very few people in India have access to the internet, which means most of our population will remain unware of the actual facts. I think,everybody should know it.
Prem Panicker: No, I do not write for any print publication these days. However, there is a very alive, active print media in India and almost every newspaper worth the name has been carrying articles detailing the issues we have discussed here. The fan in India, thus, is as clued in as the fan abroad.
From: Nandu Vaid <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is in reference to what is going on in Indian cricket. Here is my
observation in addition to some suggestions:
From: Jayan <email@example.com>
It is great to know that there are people like you who have not lost the
ability to react strongly to the deviousness which is central to today's
cricket establishment, be it Indian or international.
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