A new controversy is emerging in Indian cricket, which is about the Bengal opener batsman Abhimanyu Easwaran, who was included in the Test team for the tour of England. There has been a tussle between the Chetan Sharma-led Indian Selection Committee and the team management, including Indian captain Virat Kohli, regarding Easwaran. However, this controversy has not happened for the first time in Indian cricket and it has happened before when there has been a situation of conflict between the selectors and the team management regarding the player. Even before this it has happened in Indian cricket when the captain could not find the player of his choice and then there was a rift with the selectors.
The wicketkeeper of Bengal in the late 60s and early 70s was the Russian Jijibhai of the Parsi community, who played 46 first-class matches and averaged 10.46 in batting. The third wicket-keeper’s position was vacant for India’s 1971 tour of the West Indies. The eyes were now on the Duleep Trophy match in which the East Zone was led by Ramesh Saxena and Daljit Singh was to keep the wickets. A player who was part of the match told PTI that the then chairman of the selection committee, Vijay Merchant, called Ramesh Bhai just before the toss and asked Daljit as the batsman and Russi as the wicketkeeper. Ramesh Bhai could not avoid his talk.
Jijibhai was selected for the West Indies tour which proved to be the first and last tour. His highest score in 46 matches was 39 runs. The new captain Ajit Wadekar did not want to argue with a legend like Merchant over his selection. Former Bengal captain Sambaran Banerjee told that in 1979 he was scheduled to tour England with Surinder Khanna, but in the end, Bharat Reddy of Tamil Nadu was selected. The then captain S Venkataraghavan was also from Tamil Nadu. Similarly, on the 1986 tour of England, Kapil Dev had included Madan Lal in the team instead of Manoj Prabhakar, who was then playing club cricket in England.
Captain Mohammad Azharuddin and coach Sandeep Patil were not in favor of taking Sourav Ganguly to England in 1996 but Sambaran Banerjee was the selector then and he was successful in persuading the then chairman of the selection committee Gundappa Vishwanath and Kishan Rungta. During Sahara Cup 1997, captain Sachin Tendulkar and team management wanted Madhya Pradesh all-rounder JP Yadav in the team but selection committee convenor Jyoti Vajpayee sent JP Yadav from his state Uttar Pradesh and he did not get a chance to play a single match.
Similarly, Tendulkar did not find an off-spinner of his choice in the 1997 tour of West Indies. Then a selector from Hyderabad insisted on the selection of Noel David, whose career was limited to four ODIs. In the historic 2001 series against Australia, the selectors wanted to keep Sharandeep Singh in the team. Ganguly did not agree. He got Harbhajan Singh in the team and what happened is history. In 2011, Mahendra Singh Dhoni got his friend RP Singh, who was vacationing in Miami, included in the Test team. RP Singh could not do much and after that he never played Test matches again.