BCCI chief selector Chetan Sharma was caught in a controversy on Tuesday after he allegedly revealed classified selection matters during a sting operation conducted by a TV channel.
Sharma, who was recently reinstated by the BCCI after being removed following India’s showing in the T20 World Cup in Australia, was seen during the sting operation casting aspersions on players like Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah. Sharma also allegedly revealed his internal discussions with head coach Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli during the sting conducted by Zee News.
Sharma alleged that there was an ego tussle between former captain Kohli and former BCCI president Sourav Ganguly.
The chief selector claimed that Kohli had started considering himself “bigger than the Board” and had tried to “hit back” at the former BCCI president as he felt that Ganguly had removed him from ODI captaincy.
“When the player becomes popular, he considers himself to be bigger than the Board and thinks that nobody can touch him. He feels that cricket in India would stop without him. But has that ever happened? Some of our biggest cricketing stars came and went but cricket remained the same. So, he tried to hit back at the president at that time. It was a damaging controversy. It was a classic case of a player going against the BCCI. The president represents the BCCI, isn’t it?
“As to whose fault it was will be judged in time but it was an attack on the BCCI. All our players are discouraged from doing this because the loss will be theirs as everyone will go against them even if the president is at the fault. There has to be some respect for the chair,” said Sharma.
He further claimed that ahead of the 2022 India tour of South Africa in January, Kohli brought up the matter of being removed from ODI captaincy on purpose in front of reporters because he felt that Ganguly had played a role in removing him from leadership in the 50-over format. He also accused Kohli of lying in front of the media about being removed from ODI captaincy without any communication, in order to defame Ganguly.
The chairman of selectors further revealed that both players have supported each other in their bad times. “Rohit had supported Virat the most when he was going through a lean run. When Rohit fell into a similar crisis of confidence with the bat, Virat supported him,” said Sharma.
Sharma alleged that a lot of players take injections to expedite their return to competitive cricket despite being 80 to 85% fit.
The former India pace bowler also alleged that there was a difference of opinion between him and the team management over Bumrah’s return from a stress fracture for the T20I series against Australia in September.
Bumrah still continues to be out of action, and will likely miss the entire four-Test Border-Gavaskar series and the three-match ODI series after that.
Sharma was unavailable for a comment when contacted by PTI.
It is learnt that the BCCI is looking into the matter, as national selectors are bound by contract and not supposed to speak to the media.
“It will be (BCCI secretary) Jay’s (Shah) call as to what will be Chetan’s future. The question is whether T20 skipper Hardik Pandya or ODI and Test captain Rohit Sharma would like to sit with Chetan in a selection meeting knowing that he has let out internal discussions,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
(With inputs from ANI)