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Rajput alleges interference in coach selection

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Lalchand Rajput, the chairman of Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA’s) Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC), has alleged that select members of the apex council have tried to influence the coaches’ appointment procedure.

Less than 48 hours after the CIC interviewed all the 24 shortlisted candidates for coaching positions for the forthcoming domestic season, Rajput has written a scathing letter to MCA president Vijay Patil.

“We respect Mr. Sachin Tendulkar but his name is used unnecessary (sic) everywhere to put pressure that Sachin has recommended X, Y and Z. If Sachin has to make any recommendations, he can directly talk to the President and CIC as we all know him very well. Tendulkar is an icon we respect and I am sure if he has any suggestions, he has every right to put his views across to us,” Rajput wrote in the email, accessed by The Hindu, addressed to Patil and marked to all other members of the apex council.

Stressing that the CIC, which also includes former Test cricketers Raju Kulkarni and Sameer Dighe, is “here to improve Mumbai’s cricket and will take some harsh decisions” if required, Rajput concluded with: “We are all no-nonsense persons who will not succumb to such tactics and pressure. We will do our job diligently and work [within] the framework of the constitution.”

Rajput singled out Amit Dani, the former Mumbai assistant coach who is the only elected First Class cricketer in the apex council, for allegedly trying to influence him. “I am always open [to] suggestions … but Mr. Amit Dani cannot tell me that I should include X or Y, which I have not liked. Now I know why Mumbai cricket is going down because being an apex council member, they can throw their weight around and get things done. We, as CIC, will not allow these things to happen.”

‘Misunderstanding’

According to an apex council member, Dani was acting after being asked by the president to interact with the CIC. While Patil didn’t respond to the request for a comment, Dani told The Hindu: “It’s nothing but a misunderstanding and will be sorted out soon.”

On Wednesday, the CIC conducted interviews to select coaches for various teams. It is understood that former India pacer Salil Ankola and former Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni are front-runners for the Ranji Trophy team coach’s position.

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