Azhar terms Wright~~s remark as ~~immature~~

Published: Monday, August 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Chennai:Former cricketers gave mixed reaction to ex-Indian coach John Wright's remark that there was zonal bias in selecting the team, with deposed skipper Mohammed Azharuddin describing the Kiwi's comments as 'very immature'.

The occasion was a grand conglomerate of former cricketers at the Maayajal Sports Village held on the outskirts of the city to mark the eighth inter-zonal tournament organised by the Board of Veterans Cricket in India (BVCI) here last night.

Those present were Former selectors Syed Kirmani and Chetan Chauhan and Azharuddin among others.

When asked about Wright's remark, Azhar said, in the first place it should not have happened at all.

''Talking about it a few years after quitting as coach will not serve any purpose. He (Wright) should have raised it at that time (when he was the coach) and finished it off.'' There was no point in talking about the past, he said and described it as an 'immature' comment.

Asserting there was no zonal bias during his stint as captain of the Indian team, Azhar said, ''whatever happened has happened.

Talking now about the past is totally irrelevant. It's not good for the team and the country. It's not good for any one either.'' ''Nothing of that sort had happened during my time,'' he added.

''Whether Wright's comment is right or wrong, it has been misunderstood,'' was how former wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani reacted. Virtually 'stumping' the questioner, he said the book had not come out yet. ''Who has read the book? Only excerpts have come,'' he fumed. ''I cannot give a judgment without reading it...I would not like to comment unless I see it authentically in the book. Who has read it? Is there any signed statement about it?'' he asked and refused to pass any judgment without reading the book's full content.

When queried about any zonal bias during his tenure as selector, the stumper retorted ''only the selector from the respective zone knows the zonal players well.

''It does not mean that he is biased. Why are you looking at it negatively?'' The merits of the players and the statistics of their latest performance are discussed.

''If my zonal player has performed better than any other zonal player, I will fight for him. You cannot call it as biased,'' he added.

Guarded in his reaction, former selector Chetan Chauhan called for a more professional approach and wanted the selectors to be made accountable by making them professionals.

''There is too much of cricket being played now. We need more selectors to watch Duleep Trophy, Ranji Trophy and ODIs.'' ''The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should have professionals as full time selectors,'' he added.

''They should not be Honorary Selectors...They should be paid and made accountable as in other countries,'' he suggested.

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