Sandeep Patil gears up for a new innings
Mumbai, 05 Nov: Sandeep Patil has donned various cricketing hats since his debut as a first-class cricketer in 1975. He was a flamboyant middle-order batsman and handy medium pacer for Team India before transforming into a vigilant and inspirational mentor to the national teams of India and Kenya. He served the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for three years as the Director of Operations.
Now, the dashing Mumbai cricketer finds himself on the seat of the Chairman of the All India National Selection Committee. In the true sense of the word, Sandeep Patil can now boast of being a complete all-rounder.
As the 56-year-old settles down at the crease for another major innings of his career, on an unknown wicket, he shared his vision and selection philosophy in a chat with bcci.tv.
Here are the excerpts from his interview:
You have performed so many roles – a cricketer, a coach, an administrator and now a selector. You think you’ve become a complete all-rounder?
I’m thankful to BCCI for showing faith in me in whatever responsibilities the board has given me, starting from my appointment as the coach of the junior team. Now I am the chairman of the National Selection Committee and I’m pleased to have been and continue to be part of the BCCI and Indian Cricket.
How will your previous roles help you as the chairman of selectors?
In my three years at the NCA I had the opportunity to see each and every contracted player from close quarters. I got to know everything about them – their technical strengths and where they lacked, their fitness and mental strength. I could interact with all these players and I got to know them inside-out. That will help me bridge the gap that exists between the selector and the player. I can pass on so much of that information to my colleagues and they will benefit from it too.
When you see a player struggling with some technical or other glitch, do you have to stop the coach inside you from going and correcting that?
You have to restrict yourself. At this stage the responsibility I’m given is that of selecting the team and I will limit myself to performing that role.
A few words on your colleagues in the selection committee
We’re all very like-minded and have played together at some time or the other. Roger (Binny) and I played a lot of cricket together. Saba (Karim) and Vikram (Rathod) have been with me on tours. So, it’s a nice group of five men who share the same thinking and objective.
The Indian cricket is going through a transition phase. Do you think the new committee faces a challenging task?
Cricket is a challenging game, whether you are a player, a coach, a media person or a selector. You have to move forward according to the changing times and the requirements of different formats. I hope me and my committee fulfil our roles efficiently.
Do you see this home season as an opportunity to groom youngsters for tough overseas tours?
We have good established cricketers in the team. The opportunities will come for the youngsters. It’s a long season and everybody will get his due chance whenever a slot opens up.
Is there any specific long-term goal that your team has set?
No, we’re going match by match and series by series. Every match is going to be important and we want the Indian team to do well in each of those matches. Let’s not talk about the season ahead of us but this series against England that is coming up.
Is there anything that the previous selection committee did that you’d like your team to continue?
The previous committee did a fantastic job. They won the World Cup! We’d like to take the good work performed by them forward during our tenure.
What was the thought that went behind the selection of the squad for the Test series against England?
We have selected three openers, not four. Ajinkya Rahane has been picked as a middle-order batsman. We have tried to provide the captain and the team management with a backup option for all departments. We have an extra spinner, top-order batsman, middle-order batsman and pacer.