The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed Sunil Joshi and Harvinder Singh as the selectors who will take over duties from MSK Prasad and Gagan Khoda in the Indian men's team's selection panel. Sunil Joshi, a former cricketer, was recommended by CAC (Cricket Advisory Committee) as the chief selector.
As many as five candidates (Sunil Joshi, Venkatesh Prasad, L Sivaramakrishnan, Harvinder Singh, Rajesh Chauhan) appeared for the interview of two selectors post for Indian Men's senior team, and BCCI, on Wednesday, confirmed the former has replaced Prasad.
Who is Sunil Joshi?
Sunil Joshi was a left-arm spin bowling all-rounder who thrived in India's limited-overs sides primarily during the late 90s and early 2000s. He played for India in 15 Tests and 69 ODIs, picking up 41 and 69 wickets respectively. He was a reasonable batsman down the order and made contributions with the bat, including a fifty apiece in both formats.
His Spell of 10-6-6-5 against South Africa in 1999 is the 7th best ODI bowling performance according to Wisden.
He had a whopping first-class career where he picked up 615 wickets and made 5129 runs. In List A cricket, he had 192 wickets and 1729 runs.
What are his credentials outside his playing career?
Joshi formally announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in 2012, but he was long out of international cricket by then. He has coached Assam, Hyderabad and Jammu and Kashmir and was even appointed as the spin bowling coach of Oman in 2015 and last year had a similar opportunity with the USA. Joshi also worked as a spin bowling consultant for Bangladesh in 2017. He will be assistant to Anil Kumble in the Kings XI Punjab dugout for the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League, although that role will now be under scrutiny following a plausible conflict of interest.
What does the selection committee now look like?
Sunil Joshi and Harvinder Singh will join Devang Gandhi, Jatin Paranjpe and Sarandeep Singh, the trio who are already a part of the selection panel. Joshi, who hails from Karnataka and Harvinder from Railways will be straight swaps for South and Central Zone respectively now, although zonal considerations aren't required now.
What will Joshi's first duty be?
The newly appointed selection panel would now be tasked with picking the Indian team for the upcoming ODI series against South Africa, starting March 12 at Dharamsala.
What are Joshi's challenges?
The primary criticism levied against MSK Prasad and co were the fact that there were a lot of inconsistencies in retaining new players. From Karun Nair, who was dropped soon after a triple ton, to Manoj Tiwary, Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik and Sanju Samson, several have called out for some unfair choices in the recent past.
There's also an evident hesitation to let go of senior stars, with MS Dhoni delaying retirement announcement and uncertainty being a glaring example. Shikhar Dhawan in T20Is is another glaring example while the Rishabh Pant - Wriddhiman Saha selection has also invited criticism.
Joshi’s challenge will be to bring consistency in selection while handling the ego in the Indian management and senior players. The former left-arm spinner will also need to build the future of the ODI side for the 2023 World Cup, although the 2020 T20 World Cup will be a priority for the Indian selector as of now.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Glyn Kirk