New Delhi: The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and Trinamool Congress-led state government are set on a collision course on the issue of new national selector from East Zone who will be replacing the current incumbent Raja Venkat.
With around a fortnight left for the new BCCI selection panel to take charge, former Bengal allrounder Arup Bhattacharya's name being proposed by state urban development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad (Bobby) Hakim has kicked up a debate on whether political interference in cricketing matters is at all necessary.
"Yes, I have spoken to CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya and proposed Arup's name. He (Arup) has done a lot for Bengal cricket and CAB and he deserves the position," Hakim told PTI on Wednesday.
Interestingly, Bhattacharya is Hakim's brother-in-law. When questioned whether Bhattacharya has the suitable credentials since he has not played international cricket like other candidates Deep Dasgupta and Devang Gandhi, he countered, "Did Raja Venkat or Sambaran Banerjee play Test cricket? Arup has played 52 first-class matches which is more than Raja's first-class matches (41)."
Since CAB brass are not keen on Bhattacharya's name, did he get any assurance from Dalmiya that association will recommend former's name, he said,"I can't reveal about my discussions with Mr Dalmiya. That's a personal thing but I expect Arup to become a selector."
The CAB officials are in a tight spot as they are still not sure on how to deal with Bhattacharya issue as the association is still divided on Deep vs Devang issue.
While Deep being chairman of state selection committee should have been an automatic choice, Devang who has been a prolific run-getter for Bengal is very much in the race.
"There is a lot of political pressure on us to propose Bhattacharya's name but will BCCI agree to such a name that doesn't have weight?," a CAB office-bearer questioned.
"Agreed Venkat became a selector but that had more to do with his anti-Dalmiya stand which fetched him the job. But now BCCI and CAB share a cordial relation and proposing an unknown name wouldn't go down well with the parent body," he concluded.