Ankola Refuses To Testify Claims Of Interference In Mumbai's SMAT Selection > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Ankola refuses to testify claims of interference in Mumbai's SMAT selection

Mumbai endured a disappointing campaign in the 2020-21 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Mumbai endured a disappointing campaign in the 2020-21 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Salil Ankola, the Mumbai chief selector, has appealed to the warring Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) office-bearers and Lalchand Rajput-led former Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) to not involve the selection committee in their fight. Speaking to Cricbuzz over the controversy following the sacking of the Rajput panel in February, the former India pacer said he should not be dragged into the crosshairs between the MCA and former CIC.

"As a chairman of the selection committee, I have been transparent and always kept Mumbai's interest above anything else," the 53-year old Ankola, who played one Test and 20 ODIs, said.

In particular, the chief selector was upset by the claim of Rajput who had said that the selectors would testify his allegation that the MCA secretaries were involved in the selection of playing XI of Mumbai during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in January. Mumbai had failed to qualify for the knockouts of the SMAT.

"This is to inform about the recent series of allegations made by the Cricket Improvement Committee on 'interference of secretaries in the selection process'. There have been recent media reports on Mr Lalchand Rajput and Mr Raju Kulkarni stating that the selectors are willing to testify for the interference to the MCA Ombudsman. I, as a chairman of the selection committee for Mumbai Cricket Association, would like to place it on record that I have never spoken to Rajput on the above issue. Neither have I given any consent to testify in front of anyone," Ankola told Cricbuzz.

Seeking his reinstatement, Rajput, in an affidavit to the MCA Ombudsman, had claimed that the selectors would back his allegation of interference by MCA secretaries. He had said, "The selectors are willing to testify the interference e.g., inclusion of two players in the 20 selected by senior team selectors for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 (SMAT) after BCCI allowed 22 players due to Covid, instead of 20. The same two players were included in the XI in some matches of the SMAT. Also a left-arm bowler, who was not in the original 20, who was a No 11 batsman, was made to open the innings in the SMAT (sic)," Rajput had written earlier this month. For the record, no left-arm bowler had opened for Mumbai in the tournament. It did happen though in a practice game.

Similar charges were made by Rajput's CIC colleague Raju Kulkarni too in his own affidavit on Monday (April 19). Sameer Dighe was the third member of the Rajput's CIC but the former India stumper has steadfastly stayed away from the whole fracas.

After dissolving the Rajput panel, MCA had formed a new CIC consisting of Vinod Kambli, Nilesh Kulkarni and Jatin Paranjpe. The CIC is empowered by the MCA constitution to take all cricketing decisions of Mumbai, particularly the appointments of coaches and selectors.