Borde does a Datta Ray on Kambli

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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The name may not ring any bells today, but one Mr M Dutta Ray, whatever his credentials might have been, had enjoyed the unique distinction of being the chairman of the national cricket selection committee as well as that of national football at the same time.

He once had to rush through the selection process of cricket probables for a training camp so that he could go and watch his club, Mohun Bagan, play in the Rovers Cup final. Of course, the distance between the Cricket Club of India, where the selection committee was held, and the Cooperage football ground in Mumbai, was such that it could be traversed in less than 10 minutes.

But there was a world of a difference between keeping track of the cricketers in running for a place in the Indian team and those amongst the footballers for similar honours. How he apportioned his limited knowledge, and time and energy, to two of the most popular and busiest games in the country, he alone knew.

A joke, however, did the rounds that he could not even reel off names of 12 leading cricketers of the country, without assistance, and likewise in football. Whenever he drew criticism on any notable omission from the national football side, he would call the scribes and say "I know so-and-so is an outstanding player. Instead of the Asian tournament, I have kept him in mind for the pre-Olympic."

The chairman of the present cricket selection committee, Chandu Borde did a Dutta Ray at Pune on Monday when he commented on the exclusion of Vinod Kambli from the Asia Cup squad. "I think, he will be more useful in a Test side," he said, while admitting that the fielding ability tilted the scales in favour of Tamil Nadu's Hemang Badani.

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