Dhoni, N Srinivasan didn’t want to include Kohli in Team India: Dilip Vengsarkar

  • Former skipper Dilip Vengsarkar revealed his role in Virat Kohli’s rise to the top
  • “N Srinivasan was the man behind my sacking as chief selector,” said Vengsarkar
  • Vengsarkar succeeded Kiran More as chief selector in 2006 and was abruptly replaced by Kris Srikkanth in 2008

Dilip Vengsarkar is a man who has donned many crucial hats in Indian cricket. From being the national captain during his distinguished playing career to his time in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), Vengsarkar is one of the top notch administrators that the country has produced. However, he revealed that while pushing the case for selection of Virat Kohli, Vengsarkar faced much problems, which had emanated mainly from MS Dhoni and N Srinivasan.

Among his many roles, perhaps the most challenging task of his administrative career came when he was appointed as the chairman of the national selection panel in September 2006. Speaking at a function to felicitate Marathi sports journalist in Mumbai on Wednesday (March 7), Vengsarkar reflected on his time as India’s chief selector and revealed how his tenure was brought to an abrupt halt after just two years into his term.

Pushing the case of Virat Kohli’s selection ended Dilip Vengsarkar’s career as selector

Vengsarkar said that his decision to promote current India captain Virat Kohli into the national setup played a big role in his sacking as chief selector and also stated that then captain MS Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten were ‘reluctant’ to include the Delhi batsman in the Indian side. As reported by NDTV Sports, the former chief selector said,

“There was an Emerging Players tour to Australia. The selection committee decided to include only U-23 players for this tour. That year, we had won the U-19 World Cup as well and Virat Kohli was captain of that team. We included him in the Emerging Players team. I had gone to Brisbane to see those matches.”

“Virat opened the innings against West Indies who had a few Test cricketers in their ranks, but we had none and in that match, Virat scored 123 not out. I felt that we should play this guy in the Indian team,” Vengsarkar said at the event.

After the Emerging Players tournament, India were scheduled to tour Sri Lanka for an ODI series in 2008. Vengsarkar said that while majority of selectors had agreed upon including Virat Kohli in the squad, MS Dhoni and and India coach Gary Kirsten were not too willing. Vengsarkar said,

“I felt this was an ideal situation to include Kohli in the squad. Although the other four selectors agreed with my decision, coach Gary Kirsten and captain MS Dhoni were reluctant as they had not seen much of Kohli. I told them that I have seen him and we have to include him in the team.”

“I knew that they were keen on keeping S Badrinath in the team because he was a Chennai Super Kings player. If Kohli would have come in, Badrinath would have been dropped,” the former India captain stated.

N Srinivasan had also argued against Virat Kohli’s selection

Vengsarkar, who stepped into Kiran More’s shoes as India’s chief selector in 2006 and was subsequently replaced by Krishnamachari Srikkanth in September 2008, also shed some light on former BCCI president N Srinivasan’s role in his sacking.

“N Srinivasan was the BCCI treasurer at that time. He was upset that Badrinath was dropped because he was their (state and IPL team) player. He asked me on what basis Badrinath was axed, and I explained that I had been on the Emerging Players tour to Australia where I saw Virat, who is an exceptional player and that is why he is in the team.”

“He (Srinivasan) argued that Badrinath has scored over 800 runs for Tamil Nadu. I told him that he will get his chance. He then asked, ‘When will he get his chance? He is already 29 now’. I told him he will get his chance but I can’t tell you when. The very next day, he (Srinivasan) took Srikkanth to Sharad Pawar, who was the (BCCI) president then and that was the end of my selection tenure,” he concluded.

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