TV channels’ credibility is low: Vengsarkar

Board of Control for Cricket in India Selection Committee Chairman Dilip Vengsarkar minces no words even when walking the diplomatic tightrope. He draws his strength not only from his own 116-Test match experience and chief of Mumbai selectors over eight years but also from his proximity to BCCI President Sharad Pawar.
Excerpts from an interview:
On the idea that selectors come under pressure from BCCI President
Mr Pawar is a great administrator and will be the last the person to interfere in selection and put any pressure on us. I have known him for many years now. Even in Mumbai, the first thing he did was to form the Cricket Improvement Committee. That panel chooses the selectors and coaches and runs cricket. Of course, we had a meeting with Mr Pawar before we chose the Test team for South Africa but he sought our inputs on what could be done to arrest the slide.
On a national selector being part of the tour selection panel (with a vote)
This was one of the points that we discussed with Mr Pawar. There is no question that a selector needs to be a part of the tour committee. The coach and captain have their faith in certain players. A selector can help bring in neutrality. I am going on the tour of South Africa and will be on the tour selection committee for all three Tests. I am not going there to pass time as an observer.
On selectors’ differences with team management
There is no difference of opinion between the selectors and the team management. We have always got to discuss issues and either we convince them or they convince us. After all, we are all entrusted with the common task of taking Indian cricket forward.
On his relationship with coach Greg Chappell
I have had several chats with Greg about team combination not just now but also during the Champions Trophy. We have had a healthy relationship and are on the same wavelength.
On his relationship with captain Rahul Dravid
I don’t know him so well but his line of thinking is excellent. He has got very good cricketing ideas. Unfortunately, the coach and captain have not watched enough domestic cricket and sometimes when we talk of some players Badri has played well for India A and for Tamil Nadu. Rahul and Badrinath play for the same zone but the India captain hasn’t seen him bat.
On the impression is that the team management has always got what it wanted.
I don’t know about the past and I can talk about the present. I believe the captain and the coach have to be taken into confidence. I don’t believe that if we are selectors we must pick a squad and hand it to the captain and coach. I don’t have that kind of attitude. I have been Chairman of Mumbai selectors for eight years and I believe that we must all contribute and get the best combination. It is important to get everyone’s views on board
On perception that Raina and Kaif got protection from the team management
For whatever reason, every coach and captain have faith in some players. Even I did when I was captain. But the thing is that we have to see the overall picture and strike a balance. Has to be backed up by performance. I strongly believe in performance.
On the youth vs experience debate
I have always said form and fitness are the key factors when it comes to selection. Age is not a criterion. I have gone through it. I know how a player feels about the whole thing. The important thing is how hungry a player is for success. It shows in your attitude and body language. I am sure that Kaif and Raina will come back hungrier. When we watch the lads play in domestic cricket, we will know how hungry a player is, unmindful of how important or not a match may be. Zaheer Khan showed in the Challenger Trophy and Duleep Trophy tournaments that he was hungry. And he has shown that hunger.
On pitches for domestic cricket
The local persons know how to prepare a pitch but players and officials are interfering too much in the choice of tracks for first class games. If a captain is a batsman, he gets the groundstaff to shave the grass off. I am not talking of grassy tracks but we must have bouncy pitches where everyone mediumpacer and spinners and batsmen have a chance.
On the way forward
We have suggested that we play our Ranji Trophy games at neutral venues to prevent association from preparing pitches to suit the home side. And make associations accountable. If the match referee and umpires file an adverse report against the pitch, fine the association Rs 5 lakh. That is the only thing that will hurt them.
On how India can turn the corner in ODIs
We have to start winning. How? Let’s look at the three matches played in South Africa. We had opportunities in each one of them. It is not as if they dominated from the word go and steamrollered us. We must get back to seizing the chances.
On India making tactical mistakes in the ODIs
Hindsight is wonderful but we have to back the captain for making the decision that he believed would work for the team.
On captain’s role vis-à-vis coach’s role?
Coach also plays a very important role, even in strategising. He may talk of bowling changes – may be at the break.
On criticism by former cricketers
I understand that they are concerned and are bound to criticise bad performances. Their opinion always counts.
On passionate reactions by fans
We are a nation that shows extreme emotions. We place the players on a pedestal or drop them down very quickly.
On the role of the media
There are a lot of imaginary things floating around and TV channels, competing with one another tend to blow up minor issues, putting pressure on the print guys as well. The credibility level is quite poor and the fans are recognising that now.