Picking Kohli ended my career as selector: Vengsarkar

Former India captain alleges his decision didn't go down well with ex-BCCI boss Srinivasan

Picking Kohli ended my career as selector: Vengsarkar

Selecting Virat Kohli ended his career as a national selector, former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar  claimed on Thursday.

Vengsarkar said that he lost his job as chairman of selectors for picking Kohli over Tamil Nadu's domestic heavyweight S Badrinath in 2008, courtesy the then BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan.

Vengsarkar then  accused Srinivasan of replacing him with another former India captain Kris Srikkanth. Vengsarkar was eligible for an extension of his term as a selector had he given up vice-president's post of the Mumbai Cricket Association that led to conflict of interest.  Vengsarkar, however, refused quit as MCA vice-president.

In July 2008, the BCCI working committee approved a new criteria concerning any conflict of interest pertaining to a selector. The clause, which was ratified at the AGM in September that year, said a selector could not hold a dual post. Consequently, Srikkanth replaced Venhsarkar.

When asked which role was the toughest to play among player, captain and chairman of selectors, Vengsakar said the latter and then went on to explain.  

"There was an Emerging Players' tournament in Australia (for) youngsters -- four A teams were there -- India, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand," Vengsarkar recalled at a programme here.

"Me and my colleagues decided that we will take the U-23 boys and at that time we had won the U-19 World Cup, Virat Kohli was the U-19 captain and I selected him in the team," he added.

Vengsarkar claimed that Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten were sceptical about the selection. The former India batsman said he eventually fell out of favour with Srinivasan, something that cost him his job.

"He (Kohli) was technically sound and I thought he should be played. We were going to Sri Lanka and I felt that this is the ideal situation that he should be in the team. My four colleagues said 'As you say Dilip Bhai'," he said referring to the other members of the selection panel.

"However, Gary and Dhoni were saying 'No, we haven't seen him and we will continue with the same team'. I told them, 'You haven't seen him but I have seen and we have to take this boy'," Vengsarkar said.

Kohli and Badrinath were fighting for one vacant middle-order spot at that point in time in Dhoni's team that had six batting slots sealed. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni were automatic selections.

"Me and my colleagues had gone to Brisbane and it was against New Zealand 'A'. Kohli was opening and their team had some good players (Martin Guptill, Corey Anderson, Jesse Ryder), Kohli scored an unbeaten 120 and I felt that we should play this boy for India," recalled Vengsarkar.

The formar India captain alleged that he sensed a general uneasiness with Kohli's selection as Badrinath played IPL for the Chennai Super Kings, which was then owned by Srinivasan. This was the first year of IPL.

"I knew there was South's Badrinath, who was playing for N Srinivasan's CSK. When Kohli was preferred over Badrinath, Srinivasan was not happy. He got fed up as his player was kept out and he questioned me as to how I didn't pick Badri? I replied that I had gone to watch the Emerging Tour in Australia and found this boy Kohli exceptional.

"So I have picked him in the team and Srinivasan reasoned that Badrinath had scored 800 runs for Tamil Nadu. I told him he will get a chance and an angry Srinivasan asked 'when he will get a chance, he is 29 years old (he was 27 then)'? I replied 'Whenever the time comes'."

Vengsarkar said soon after he was replaced by Srinivasan's choice Srikkanth as chairman of selectors.

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