Former selector talks on factions in Indian team, how Srinivasan blocked Dhoni sacking

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Kolkata, June 12: In 2012, the selectors wanted to replace MS Dhoni with Virat Kohli as India's ODI captain but was stopped by the then BCCI president N Srinivasan, according to a former national selector who was part of that panel.

Raja Venkat, who was part of BCCI's selection committee from East Zone, in 2011-12, has revealed how there were factions in the Indian side and "team spirit had hit rock bottom" at the time.

"Mohinder Amarnath and Narendra Hirwani (selectors) had accompanied the team Down Under and upon their return they reported that there were several factions within the team. Team spirit had hit rock bottom," Venkat, a former first-class cricketer, wrote in Bengali tabloid "Ebela".

"We wanted someone who could restore unity in the team. Virat (Kohli) was our choice, for he was not into any faction and had also brilliantly led North Zone to the 2010-11 Deodhar Trophy title. Before that he had impressed as the captain of India Under-19 team," he added.

According to BCCI's constitution, the selectors cannot announce the team for overseas tours without the president's consent.

On that tour to Australia in 2012, India were handed a 0-4 clean sweep by the hosts in the Test series. After this, India played 2 T20 Internationals and were involved in a ODI tri-series with the hosts and Sri Lanka. India failed to reach the final.

"We had unanimously decided to bring in a new captain. We believed Dhoni's time was up and Virat should take over. We had met to pick the squad for the ODI leg of the tour, but as per the BCCI constitution, we couldn't announce the team for an overseas series without the president's consent. Srinivasan just didn't allow us to make the change and replace Dhoni," Venkat told "The Indian Express" yesterday (June 11).

Venkat is not the first selector to say that they wanted to sack Dhoni. Even Mohinder Amarnath, the then selector had told the media in 2012 about their decision to remove Dhoni but was overruled by Srinivasan.

After taking on the BCCI, Amarnath, the 1983 World Cup winner, lost his place in the selection panel.

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