By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) The wheel has turned a full circle for former India player and national selector Kirti Azad. He campaigned for cleansing of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) of corruption when Arun Jaitley headed it for 14 years. Last month, when Jaitley’s son became president, Azad sent him a good luck message, and now he has applied for a selector’s post.
Azad, 61, says he didn’t speak to Rohan Jaitley, 31, before applying for the selector’s post. “No (I didn’t speak to him), but I sent him a message once he became DDCA president. I wished him all the best. He is young and I have heard he has new ideas, and wanted to start academies etc. So, I suppose when somebody is young, keen to do something, why not help such people,” Azad told IANS.
Now, Azad says raising issues of corruption afflicting the DDCA with late Jaitley was an entirely different issue from applying to become a Delhi selector for a second time. He has been a Delhi selector for four years, besides two years as a national selector (2002-03 and 2003-04).
“That was a different thing. When you have 10 people you obviously are going to have discussions on issues. But those issues are absolutely different than playing cricket. And I am now not interested in digging old graves, once the noble soul is no more with us. Let the noble soul rest in peace, and let bygones be bygones,” said the former Member of Parliament.
Azad, who applied after a discussion with former India and Delhi captain Bishan Singh Bedi, is ready to go through selection process. “Yes, yes, obviously, I will have to go through the process. Why not? All of us will have to,” he said.
A member of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, Azad, who has played seven Tests and 25 ODIs, and retired at the end of the 1993-94 domestic season, meets the criteria for candidates applying for the senior selection committee that would pick Ranji Trophy and under-23 teams.
The applicant must have played a minimum of seven Test matches; or 30 first-class matches; or 10 One-day Internationals and 20 first-class matches. He should have retired from the game at least five years previously.
The DDCA Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) will interview candidates who have applied for the posts of senior selector, junior selector, coach, manager, physiotherapist, and trainer of the various Delhi teams.
Three former India speedsters constitute the CAC. Atul Wassan heads it and Robin Singh junior and Parvinder Awana are the others.
Azad pointed out that he “spotted” Wassan in mid-1980s and made first-class debut under his captaincy, in the Ranji Trophy final against Hyderabad in 1986-87 in Delhi. “I had seen Atul and Manu Nayar (a former Delhi batsman) when I had gone to play a Delhi club which was being represented by these two also. I saw them play and I said bring them in and I, as captain, brought them in the Ranji Trophy team and made them play straightaway [in 1986-87 season],” he said.
If selected, Azad said his basic effort would be to help Delhi regain its glory days in domestic cricket – from late 1970s to early 1990s.
“Well, let the time come and we will speak about it. But basically it’ll be to get Delhi back to its old, glorious days. It will take two to three years to get it back. If we do our jobs sincerely I am sure we will get the glory days back. After all, there is no dearth of talent as far as Delhi is concerned,” he pointed out.
Delhi reached the Ranji Trophy finals 12 times between 1976-77 and 1991-92, and won it six times. In 1991-92, Azad was captain when Delhi won the sixth title of the period.
The job of a selector comes with a lot of pressure, and Azad would have experienced that as a national selector for tea seasons, from 2002 to 2004.
“There is no question of pressure as long as you are sincere to yourself and to the noble game of cricket, which has given everything to me,” he said.