Chief of the selection committee for The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Chetan Sharma has landed himself in hot waters following a sting operation carried out by Zee News.
Chetan Sharma, who was sacked from his position in November 2022 following India’s semi-final exit from the T20 World Cup, was reappointed as the chairman of the senior selection committee two months later in January 2023.
A leading Indian broadcast channel, on Tuesday, February 14, made public some eye-opening revelations by the former Team India all-rounder, who currently holds an important position within BCCI.
He made these revelations during a sting operation, which is a deceptive operation to catch a person who is usually making startling revelations without the knowledge of them being secretly filmed by the person filming him or her.
What did Chetan Sharma say in the sting operation by Zee?
Among many other things, Chetan Sharma alleged that a host of players took injections to attain full fitness and fast-track their return to competitive cricket. He said that the players are fully aware of the substances that will not get detected when doping tests will be conducted.
Furthermore, Sharma also alleged that there was a conflict of opinion between him and the team management regarding fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s return to international cricket.
India’s lead pacer has been nursing a back injury since September 2022, which ruled him out of the all-important T20 World Cup in addition to the subsequent bilateral series that Team India played post the marquee event.
There have been reports regarding his comeback in the national set-up. Nonetheless, BCCI remains firm on its stand to not rush him back and monitor his workload, keeping one eye on the 50-over World Cup that will be staged on Indian soil later in 2023.
Chetan Sharma also added that there was an ego tussle between Virat Kohli and former BCCI president Sourav Ganguly during the 2021-22 India tour of South Africa, following which Virat Kohli stepped down as the Test captain. According to Sharma, it was more of a personal matter than a board versus player dispute.
The Team India selector also gave his opinion on the hotly-debated Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma limited-overs captaincy rift.
"Ganguly did not favour Rohit but he never liked Virat. You can put it in this way.
"There is no battle between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma but there is ego. Both are like big film stars you can say, Amitabh Bachan and Dharmendra," said Chetan Sharma.
In recent times, the cricket fraternity have noticed that Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, India's two stalwarts in the shortest format of the game, being ‘rested’ despite being fully fit, sparking rumours about their future in T20Is.
According to Chetan Sharma, all-rounder Hardik Pandya will become the next captain for India in T20Is.
"In the T20I format, strong starters like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are given ‘rest’ to give Shubman Gill an opportunity. He stated that Hardik Pandya would take over as captain in the long run and that Rohit Sharma would no longer be a part of the T20I setup," Chetan Sharma revealed.
Is it #GameOver?
After initially sacking him, BCCI then backed Chetan Sharma and got him back to the helm of team selection affairs two months after terminating his contract.
Now, he has once again made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, jeopardising his role as the Team India chief selector and sparking another controversy which will certainly not go down well within the BCCI top-level management.
Moreover, fans on social media expressed their dismay over the timing of the controversy. Furthermore, as per terms of his contract, BCCI national selectors are not supposed to speak to the media, making his revelations unprecedented in nature.
With the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 underway, the off-field noise may give visitors the psychological advantage for the rest of the series and with the World Test Championship 2023 final berth on the line, any distraction can prove to be a hammer blow to India’s quest to bag their maiden trophy.
Photo credit: Alamy