MUMBAI- Indian cricket’s worst kept secret in recent times is out: MS Dhoni was on the verge of being replaced as Test skipper by Virender Sehwag just after India’s 0-4 whitewash at the hands of Australia.
Former India all-rounder and outspoken former selector Mohinder Amarnath admitted that “certain internal reasons” stopped the selection committee from replacing Dhoni then.
In a tell-all interview to TIMES NOW TV channel, Amarnath, who was tipped to replace Krish Srikkanth as the chief selector before being unceremoniously booted out, said, “Definitely, there were discussions to replace Dhoni and people had even agreed to do so, but for some internal reason it didn’t happen. I would not like to divulge what the reasons were. But when the time is right, I will let the people of this country know about the reasons,” Amarnath, the man of the match in the semifinal and final of India’s victorious 1983 World Cup campaign, said.
It is now learnt that Amarnath and the selection committee were overruled because a BCCI insider showed him the constitution and confirmed that the selectors’ decision could be overturned by the powers-that-be. The 69-Test veteran though refused to confirm this.
“I would neither agree (with) nor deny this,” was his pregnant comment.
Amarnath has called for the selectors to show guts and sack Dhoni.
Known for his plain-speaking and non-compromising attitude, Amarnath referred to his differences with BCCI president N Srinivasan, whose IPL outfit Chennai Super Kings Dhoni captains.
“In Indian politics and cricket, it’s always the same,” he said sarcastically. There are people who are controlling the game and others who are too scared to take a stand.”
Stating that he had nothing personal against Dhoni, Amarnath reckoned that the Indian skipper should be someone who should merit a place in the playing XI.
“I believe that Dhoni should be removed as captain from the Tests. He hasn’t set the Test stage on fire. A captain’s place in the team should be secure and I don’t see his place secured in the side. He doesn’t have the technique for Test cricket.”
In the same vein though, Amarnath acknowledged Dhoni’s ODI exploits and referred to him as a match-winner in the shorter formats.
Amarnath’s famous ‘Selectors are a bunch of jokers’ statement and his tirade against former BCCI president Raj Singh Dungarpur, after he was dropped for the home Test series against New Zealand in 1988, is the stuff of legend. It was also a reflection of the man’s principled nature.
“I am a person who doesn’t believe in being controlled. I love to do my work freely. I don’t think there should be interference in the selectors’ job,” he said.