Amarnath hits out at BCCI boss

HT Correspondent

New Delhi, Dec. 13 -- A day after former national selector, Mohinder Amarnath, said that certain internal reasons were responsible for the BCCI selection committee not replacing MS Dhoni as skipper after the Test debacle in Australia, he went on record saying that cricket board president, N Srinivasan, was the person responsible for saving Dhoni's job.

In an interview to CNN-IBN, Amarnath, who was set to replace Kris Srikkanth as head of the selection panel before he was insensitively shown the door, said that all five selectors, including Srikkanth, had given their consent for Dhoni's removal but Srinivasan put his foot down and asked him to continue.

"It was a unanimous decision of all five selectors. The board president did not approve the decision to replace Dhoni," Amarnath told CNN-IBN, adding "When you respect a person, you don't ask questions...but my question here is: you have a selection committee which thinks what is best for Indian cricket, then why it is not given a free hand?

The BCCI constitution empowers the president to overrule the selection committee's decision, and Srinivasan decided to use it. "Who knows the constitution of BCCI? Is the current selection panel aware of it? I was not aware of it," said Amarnath.

It has again brought into focus the issue of conflict of interest as Dhoni is the captain of the Srinivasan's IPL team, Chennai Super Kings. If Dhoni is not the India captain, CSK's brand value naturally gets affected.

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Amarnath, however, refused to comment on the CSK angle. "The Super Kings does not come into this. This is between captain and Mr Srinivasan. I have nothing to say on that. I'm not in favour or against anything like that."

Amarnath added, "We were trying to look ahead, we wanted a young captain to come in, specially in triangular one-day series (against Australia and SL) so that we could go ahead and do something better in near future...If we don't look ahead, we won't have a good team in the future."

When asked why didn't the panel resign en masse after Srinivasan overruled them, the former all-rounder said the thought had crossed the mind of all five of them, "But we did not want to create a stir as the team was playing abroad and the series was going on. I lost interest after that. I was upset."

Amarnath said that he is in favour of Gautam Gambhir being made Test captain and that "Dhoni is not good enough to be in the playing eleven".

Amarnath got support from former captain Sunil Gavaskar.

"He is prepared to face the consequences. It is a testimony of his self-belief. It needs to be admired. What Jimmy has spoken is incredibly courageous and, may be, lessons need to be learnt from that," Gavaskar said.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.