Virat Kohli the reason for Vegsarkars removal as Chief Selector

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Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar on Wednesday revealed that his tenure as India’s chief selector was abruptly cut short after he decided to included then 19-year-old Virat Kohli into the national team in place of Tamil Nadu’s S Badrinath, who was favoured by then skipper MS Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten.

Former BCCI president, and then treasurer N Srinivasan wasn’t pleased with the decision either, the former selection committee chairman said.
Speaking at a function in Mumbai on Wednesday, Vengsarkar told journalists that his insistence that a teenaged Kohli – who had led India Under-19s to the junior World Cup in 2008 – be added to India’s ODI squad for the tour of Sri Lanka that year was what forced Srinivasan to end his tenure as chief selector. According to Vengsarkar, when the selection committee met to pick the Test and ODI squads for the Sri Lanka tour, he was very keen to hand Kohli a debut in the ODIs but that then captain MS Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten were not convinced.

Vengsarkar, who played 116 Tests and 129 ODIs, took over from Kiran More as chief selector in 2006 and was replaced less than two years later by former team-mate Kris Srikkanth. It was Srinivasan’s influence, alluded Vengsarkar, that saw him lose his job and Srikkanth take over.

“He [Srinivasan] 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 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 (Kris) Srikkanth, who later succeeded Vengasarkar as chief selector, to Sharad Pawar, who was the (BCCI) president then and that was the end of my selection tenure,” Vengsarkar said.


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