Their decisions are more closely scrutinised than the PM’s cabinet picks. Kiran More, former chairperson of India’s cricket selection committee, gives us a peek behind the scenes.
Forbes India: How strong is the pressure to prop the region from which the selector comes?
Kiran More: A lot. People from various associations call up and ask why their players have not been chosen; there is emotional pressure as you are the representative of a particular Zone. But your loyalty has to be for the Indian cricket team.
THE BEST OF THE BEST: Selecting players for the Indian cricket team is a grueling job.
Forbes India: How big is the role of the captain during selection?
Kiran More: The captain plays an extremely vital role; it is he who has to be out in the field with the team. We make sure that we accommodate his views. But the selectors are the ones who spot the talent and have seen most of the players play, and therefore have a perspective that the captain cannot. We are responsible for making sure that there is a strong bench. So sometimes we have to put our foot down.
Forbes India: Do selectors pick players who put pressure in unconventional ways, bordering on foul play?
Kiran More: Players who have a slightly different character or an attitude do tend to have an edge. It is useful to have some one like Sreesanth, Harbhajan or Yuvraj in the team because of the kind of aggression that they have. Being nice is not always an asset. But this certainly cannot be the major reason that a player is chosen.
Forbes India: Did the selection committee ever consider dropping Sachin for poor form?
Kiran More: No. We have, especially in 2004-05, considered resting him to protect him from injury. He was at that time, passing through a bad health patch. But never for any other reason.
Forbes India: How much should a selector be paid if it has to become a truly independent job?
Kiran More: The job is demanding, takes a physical toll, with travel throughout the year. And the person has to have a strong character and a lot of people skills. I would say that Rs 40 lakh a year is a fair amount.
Forbes India: Typically, how many chances does a youngster have?
Eight to nine matches, which is a fair duration to judge performance.
Forbes India: Is international cricket experience necessary for selectors?
Kiran More: Not at all. A player with 15 to 20 years of Ranji Trophy matches is sufficiently skilled to spot a good, talented player.
Forbes India: Why did the selectors not back Sourav Ganguly in the feud with Greg Chappell?
Kiran More: There was no question of backing Greg Chappell. He had made some suggestions as he thought fit, but the selectors independently thought that it was time to drop Sourav for a number of reasons. Chappell had no right to decide who should or should not be selected.
Forbes India: Why did Rahul Dravid quit the captaincy just when it looked like he was going to be at that job for a few years?
Kiran More: That is a question that only Rahul can answer. He is a dear friend, but I can’t really speak on his behalf.
(Compiled by Divya Subramaniam)