Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar revealed how his tenure as India’s chief selector came to an abrupt halt after just two years into his term. Vengsarkar succeeded Kiran More as chief selector in October 2006 before being replaced by Krishnamachari Srikkanth in September 2008. “There was an Emerging Players tour to Australia. The selection committee decided to include only U-23 players for this tour. That year, we had won the U-19 World Cup as well and Virat Kohli was captain of that team. We included him in the Emerging Players team. I had gone to Brisbane to see those matches.
Ideal situation to pick Virat
“Virat opened the innings against West Indies who had a few Test cricketers in their ranks, but we had none and in that match, Virat scored 123 not out. I felt that we should play this guy in the Indian team,” Vengsarkar said during a function to felicitate Marathi sports journalists yesterday. When Vengsarkar returned from Australia, Team India were to tour Sri Lanka for an ODI series. “I felt this was an ideal situation to include Kohli in the squad. Although the other four selectors agreed with my decision, Gary Kirsten (coach) and MS Dhoni (skipper) were reluctant as they had not seen much of Kohli. I told them that I have seen him and we have to include him in the team. I knew that they were keen on keeping S Badrinath in the team because he was a Chennai Super Kings player. If Kohli would have come in, Badrinath would have been dropped,” Vengsarkar recalled. “N Srinivasan was the BCCI treasurer at that time. He was upset that Badrinath was dropped because he was their (state and IPL team) player.
“He asked me on what basis Badrinath was axed, and I explained that I had been on the Emerging Players tour to Australia where I saw Virat, who is an exceptional player and that is why he is in the team. He (Srinivasan) argued that Badrinath has scored over 800 runs for Tamil Nadu. I told him that he will get his chance. He then asked, ‘When will he get his chance? He is already 29 now’. I told him he will get his chance but I can’t tell you when. The very next day, he (Srinivasan) took Srikkanth to Sharad Pawar, who was the (BCCI) president then and that was the end of my selection tenure,” Vengsarkar said.
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