Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar has revealed that his tenure as chief selector was cut short in 2008 because he backed Virat Kohli's selection in the Indian team over Tamil Nadu's Subramanium Badrinath - a move which didn't go down well with N Srinivasan, who was the then BCCI treasurer.
Vengsarkar, who was speaking at a function in Mumbai, said he was keen on getting Kohli, who had led India to the ICC U-19 World Cup in 2008, to be added into the Indian team for the tour of Sri Lanka later that year. Vengsarkar suggested that his decision to give a Kohli, who was just a teenager back then, rubbed Srinivasan in the wrong way.
Vengsarkar also said that even the then coach Gary Kirsten and captain MS Dhoni were not convinced with the decision when the selection committee proposed the idea of including Kohli in the ODI team.
"I felt this was an ideal situation to include Kohli in the squad. Although the other four selectors agreed with my decision, Gary Kirsten and MS Dhoni were reluctant as they had not seen much of Kohli. I told them that I have seen him and we have to include him in the team,” Vengsarkar said.
"I knew that they were keen on keeping S Badrinath in the team because he was a Chennai Super Kings player. If Kohli would have come in, Badrinath would have been dropped. N Srinivasan was the BCCI treasurer at that time. He was upset that Badrinath was dropped because he was their player."
Vengsarkar, who represented India in 116 Tests and 129 ODIs, succeeded Kiran More as the chief selector in 2006. However, he was replaced by his former teammate Kris Srikkanth in 2008, less than two years into the job.
"He [Srinivasan] asked me on what basis Badrinath was axed, and I explained that I had been on the Emerging Players tour to Australia where I saw Virat, who is an exceptional player and that is why he is in the team. He argued that Badrinath has scored over 800 runs for Tamil Nadu. I told him that he will get his chance. He then asked, 'When will he get his chance? He is already 29 now'. I told him he will get his chance but I can't tell you when. The very next day, he (Srinivasan) took (Kris) Srikkanth, who later succeeded Vengasarkar as chief selector, to Sharad Pawar, who was the (BCCI) president then and that was the end of my selection tenure," he said.
Kohli, the current Indian captain, made his debut in Sri Lanka in 2008 and is widely regarded as one of the best mordern-era batsmen.