The selectors submitted their resignation just hours before the MCA ad hoc committee was set to meet to discuss their fate © BCCL
The Ajit Agarkar-chaired Mumbai senior selection committee resigned en masse on Friday (March 15), leaving the Mumbai Cricket Association officials struggling to come up with answers. To add to their woes, Mumbai stalwart Amol Muzumdar and former opener Sahil Kukreja, too, quit as members of the Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC), ostensibly for the unfair treatment meted out to the selectors.
The resignations came just a day after the conclusion of the domestic season and brought an end to the controversial stint of the four-member selection panel, which also included former India left-arm spinner Nilesh Kulkarni, Sunil More and Ravi Thakkar. None of the selectors could be reached for comment. The CIC, which is chaired by ex-India pacer Raju Kulkarni, is now supposed to meet on Tuesday.
The selectors submitted their resignation just hours before the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) ad hoc committee was set to meet to discuss their fate. Curiously though, the MCA CEO CS Naik refused to comment on the resignations, leaving one to speculate that efforts were perhaps still on to convince them to stay on.
The ad hoc committee was under pressure to act after the Special General Meeting (SGM) last month passed a resolution to ask the CIC to sack the selection panel. The SGM to remove the selectors was called by Khodadad Yazdegardi, who is the vice-president and cricket secretary of the Parsee Gymkhana. Yazdegardi had alleged irregularities in the selection process of the Ranji and Under-23 squads.
The CIC, however, ignored the resolution, while stressing that the commitment of the selection panel could not be questioned. The ad hoc committee then sought legal opinion on the issue. Clearly disappointed that the issue was set to be discussed by the ad hoc committee on Friday, all the four former cricketers resigned.
“This is no way to treat ex-cricketers who have served Mumbai and India with distinction. The selectors quit because if they would have been sacked today, a dangerous precedent would have been set. They are against this entire process of removing the selectors. They are clearly hurt that the MCA didn’t back them, and their integrity and cricketing acumen was questioned,” said a source.
During the last two seasons when Agarkar & Co were in charge, Mumbai could only add one trophy to its cabinet, regaining the Vijay Hazare Trophy earlier this season after 12 years. In a bid to rebuild Mumbai cricket, the selectors took some brave calls, omitting seasoned cricketers who were struggling to perform consistently, but a section of the MCA members accused the selectors of not watching enough local matches and moved a resolution to remove them since last year. The five members of the ad hoc committee too indirectly opposed the resolution by skipping the SGM and not registering their protest.