A day after Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were "rested" from the squad for the Bangladesh tour, selection committee chief Dilip Vengsarkar on Saturday insisted they had not been dropped "under pressure from the cricket board", as portrayed by the media. He also indicated that Indian skipper Rahul Dravid would get a "rest" later this year.
"How can we think of dropping Sachin or Sourav? They are fantastic players with fantastic records and there is no question of them being dropped," Vengsarkar told HT from Mumbai. "We have 45 one-dayers and 15 Tests over the next year, so we decided to prioritise tours for different players and have accordingly rested Sachin and Sourav for this one. If this (the Bangladesh tour) had been Australia or England, they would not have been rested."
Both Dravid (31 games) and Virender Sehwag (27) had played more ODIs last year than Tendulkar (22) and Ganguly (10), so would Dravid also be "rested"? Vengsarkar said: "Yes, he will be, everyone will be rested at some stage... It is not humanly possible for a player to play so many matches in a year; we will have to rest different people for various games."
Vengsarkar said he had spoken to both Tendulkar and Ganguly and explained the situation to them. "I told them that everyone would be rested at some stage and if they were not rested now, they would be later. So it would be better if they were rested now so we could look at some others in Bangladesh and they could be available for the tougher tours. They understood and agreed".
He said it was believed that this was the best time to rest two of India's "best players", just so a "few domestic performers could be tested" in international cricket. "It is Bangladesh, not Australia or England, this is the best time we could try out someone new like Manoj Tiwary or Piyush Chawla, or see how someone else who has played before in international cricket does again."
Asked why Sehwag was not rested too, he said: "It is important to go and win too." A sure indicator that in the selectors' minds at least, pressure from the BCCI or not, there is no new era of any sort beginning. That, with a year of major cricket ahead, experience holds the key.