N Srinivasan, the former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, released a statement on Friday (March 9) rubbishing the remarks made against him by Dilip Vengsarkar, the former India captain, at a recent event in Mumbai.
Vengsarkar said that his tenure as the chairman of India’s selection committee was cut short by Srinivasan in 2008 after he opted to pick Virat Kohli, an Under-19 prodigy then, ahead of S Badrinath, the Tamil Nadu batsman, in the national side. He added that Srinivasan, who was the treasurer of the BCCI at that time, was unhappy with the decision.
In response, Srinivasan labelled Vengsarkar’s claims as “completely false, motivated and without any basis” as both Badrinath and Kohli made their One-Day International debut in the same series, against Sri Lanka in 2008.
“It is a pity that Vengsarkar is trying to cast aspersions on me,” Srinivasan said in an official statement released by his office. “I find it unbecoming and highly unprofessional of a former selector to act in such a manner.”
Badrinath, who made his ODI debut in the second match of series, played the three matches with scores of 27*, 6 and 6. Kohli also made his debut in the same series in the first ODI and went on to play all five matches, scoring 12, 37, 25, 54 and 31.
Vengsarkar was the vice-president of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) in addition to his national selector’s role at that time. Explaining why Vengsarkar had to step down, Srinivasan said the working committee had unanimously decided in August 2008 that a person who is the office-bearer of the BCCI or any of its member units wouldn’t be considered for a selector’s role.
“Vengsarkar continued as the vice-president of the MCA until 2010 and again in 2014 as he could not have been considered at all for the post of selector,” Srinivasan pointed out. “The decision was clear – you can’t be on both sides. This is a simple rule and he was aware of it. He is trying to create some controversy by suggesting that I was behind his removal when I was the treasurer of the BCCI.”
Srinivasan stated that he had no qualms with Vengsarkar, and that he had always lent him a lot support.
“All of us have been great admirers of the batting skills of Vengsarkar,” said Srinivasan. “If I recall, for his benefit match back in 1994 – India Cements had contributed Rs 1 lakh which at that time was a princely sum.”