I never interfered in selection, says N Srinivasan

Chennai: Former BCCI president N. Srinivasan on Friday called Dilip Vengsarkar’s recent allegations about selection “blatant lies.” Vengsarkar, former selection committee chief, had accused Srinivasan of removing him from the post in 2008 for selecting a young Virat Kohli ahead of S. Badrinath.

Srinivasan categorically said that he never interfered in selection. “At the outset, I deny this as completely false, motivated and without any basis. I was just a treasurer that time and everyone knows it’s the president who wields the power in BCCI,” he added.

According to Srinivasan, Vengsarkar couldn’t get extension because he failed to fulfill the new criteria, passed by the Board under its then president Shard Pawar. The new rules were drafted when the BCCI decided to pay the selectors for the first time.

Srinivasan wondered why Vengsarkar is talking about the 10-year-old subject now. “I don’t know on whose behalf he is talking and what his motive is. In the past, people have said so many things, but I have never bothered about criticism. But when a cricketer talks like this, in contrary to facts, it’s not good,” he said.

“I would also like to clarify that Vengsarkar was the vice president of the Mumbai Cricket Association in 2008. This is an elected post. In August 2008, the working committee chaired by Pawar decided to implement certain norms for the appointment of selection committees. As the selection committee members would be paid an annual fee, one of the recommendations was that a selector should not be an office bearer of BCCI or affiliated units,” Srinivasan explained.

Vengsarkar refused to stand down as MCA vice-president and BCCI decided to go for a new selector. “When the reappointment of the selection committee came up at the 2008 AGM, Vengsarkar chose to continue as the vice-president of the MCA and hence could not be considered. Pawar was the president and Niranjan Shah was the secretary during this AGM.

“This is totally unwarranted and defies logic. Vengsarkar continued to be the VP of the Mumbai CA until 2010 and again in 2014,” he said.

Srinivasan, however, said he has no animosity towards Vengsarkar. “I have respected him as a cricketer and looked at him as a national hero. There is no question of animosity. In 1994, India Cements contributed a princely sum for his benefit match. And again, when he was a vice president of MCA, he approached me for the renovation of Dadar Union Club.

“The allegations that one player was dropped in favour of another player who was selected for the Indian squad to the Sri Lanka tour in 2008 which is the decision that allegedly resulted in his removal itself is not even borne out by the events in 2008 as both the players mentioned by Vengsarkar ultimately figured in the squad.

“It is a pity that Vengsarkar is trying to cast aspersions on me. I find it unbecoming and highly unprofessional of a former selector to act this manner.”