In a candid television interview last evening, the outgoing chairman of selectors of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sandeep Patil, has revealed the circumstances that led to the retirement of cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar.
This outspoken Patil is in contrast with his stance at the last press conference he spoke at before he quit as selector. "There are some matters between the selectors and BCCI which should remain confidential and cannot be revealed," he had said then.
Speaking to ABP News, Patil, a former cricketer himself, said he had staged the meeting after which Tendulkar decided to retire from One-Day Internationals, though he continued to play Test cricket for another year.
"As long as I remember, it was 12th December 2012, Nagpur. Sachin got out and the selectors decided to meet him and ask him about his wish. I was the one who staged the meet, being the chairman of selectors and it was purely to understand what was running in his mind. It was a good thing to do. It did not happen in one day or one month. Sachin retired in (November) 2013. The meeting in Nagpur was just to ask his plans," Patil said.
He also said the selectors had considered sacking Dhoni from captaincy several times due to dwindling performances. "We had a brief discussion about it on a few occasions. We wanted to experiment by handing the baton (to somebody) but we thought the time was not right with World Cup (2015) round the corner," he explained.
"We felt that new captain should be given some time to set things right. Keeping that in mind in the World Cup, we had gone with Dhoni. I believe Virat [Kohli] got the captaincy at the right time. Virat can lead the team in shorter formats as well but that decision rests with the new selection committee," Patil added, before calling Dhoni's decision to retire from Tests "shocking", especially at a time the team was having a tough Test series Down Under.
During Patil's tenure many remarkable cricketers, including Virender Sehwag, retired from the team. The former selector, however, dismissed allegations of players being dropped due to their age.
"Sometimes people say players are dropped because of their age but I believe age is not the barrier. We give importance to fitness and performance. If a player is fit enough to perform, he will have equal chances to be considered for selection," he said.
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