Sports fraternity eyes Ganguly for BCCI revamp

Harbhajan Singh expects former skipper to change the current selection panel and bring strong people on board, reports Tehelka Bureau

Sports fraternity is looking at the new BCCI President Sourav Ganguly to revamp the functioning of the board. While veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh is expecting the former skipper to “change” the current selection panel and bring “strong people” on board, Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar wants Ganguly to initiate a revamp of the Duleep Trophy.

Singh, 39, was reacting to wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson being dropped from the Indian Twenty20 squad without getting a game in the recent home series against Bangladesh. “I guess they r testing his heart #selectionpanelneedtobechanged need strong people there.. hope dada @SGanguly99 will do the needful,” he tweeted.

Harbhajan quoted a tweet from Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who represents Thiruvananthapuram in the Lok Sabha, to make his point. Tharoor had expressed disappointment at the 25-year-old Kerala player not getting an opportunity.

“Very disappointed to see @IamSanjuSamson dropped without a chance. He carried the drinks for three T20Is & has been promptly discarded. Are they testing his batting or his heart?” he asked.

The current selection panel is headed by MSK Prasad, who played six Tests and 17 ODIs for India, and comprises Devang Gandhi, Jatin Pranjpe, Sarandeep Singh and Gagan Khoda.

Samson has scored 112 runs from four games he played for Kerala in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy National T20 Championship. He played his only T20 International in 2015 against Zimbabwe. PTI

Batting maestro Tendulkar feels that team bonding is missing from the four-day tournament, which can be reinvented by bringing in four Ranji Trophy semifinalists along with two teams of promising U-19 and U-23 players.

“I want him (Ganguly) to consider looking at the Duleep Trophy…I feel Duleep Trophy is one tournament where one is getting to hear that players are possibly more focused on their own performances and what the next tournament is and they play accordingly,” Tendulkar told PTI in an exclusive interaction.

“For instance if there’s an IPL auction, or an upcoming T20 tournament or one-day, players end up playing in that mode and not for their team or looking at the need of the hour,” he said.

The Duleep trophy was a five-team zonal tournament but now features India Blue, India Green and India Red in a round-robin format. Ganguly took charge as the BCCI president on October 23 and within a week, he convinced the Bangladesh Cricket Board to play their first-ever Day/Night Test at Eden Gardens. As the former captain gears up for the BCCI’s first Annual General Meeting, Tendulkar wants him to spare some focus on Duleep Trophy. “This is one change I would like to see because cricket has always been a team sport. It is all about team spirit bonding and playing together as a team. Not as individuals,” he said.

Explaining his idea on how to revamp the Duleep Trophy, Tendulkar said to get players to compete as a team, it should be held right after the Ranji Trophy finals and among the four semifinalists, who play the whole season together.

“Top four Ranji teams and there should be two more teams because there would be a number of teams with talented individuals but which did not qualify. You pick these players from various teams, also promote talented age-group players from Under-19 and Under-23. “If there’s someone exceptionally talented U19 then you can look at those players. Bring them and have this tournament together.”

“So you have got the best of both. You have got four leading Ranji teams who have been playing together,” he added.

As BCCI technical committee chairman, Ganguly had experimented with the pink ball in the Duleep Trophy for the first time in 2015/16. The domestic tournament was held under lights for three seasons, giving the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal the much-needed experience which came in handy during

India’s first Day/Night Test against Bangladesh, which the home team won by innings and 46 runs.