'No way he can find a place as a pure batsman': MSK Prasad chips in on India's squad for England tour
- MSK Prasad, the former BCCI chief selector, has chipped in on India's squad for England tour.
The BCCI selection committee picked a 20-member squad for India's four-month long tour of England starting next month. India travel to the United Kingdom to play the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, starting June 18 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, which will be followed by five Test matches against England. While the announcement marked the returns of Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari and Mohammed Shami, there was no place for Prithvi Shaw, whereas all-rounder Hardik Pandya and wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav was dropped.
MSK Prasad, the former BCCI chief selector has chipped in on the same and has provided a break down of the squad. Prasad, who has played six Tests and 17 ODIs for India back in the late 1990s, weighed in on Pandya's axing, explaining that if the all-rounder was not able to bowl, it made no sense for the board to be taking him purely as a batsman.
Ever since his return to international cricket following a back surgery, Pandya, who was part of India's four Test series against England at home earlier this year, has been used judiciously as a bowler, but Prasad reckons that if the all-rounder was to be part of the flight to England, his role in the team should be more than that of a batsman.
"I have a feeling that they actually asked him not to bowl so that he can play the Test series against England. Maybe they’re preserving him for the WTC final and England Test series. No way he can find a place as a pure batsman, when you have Vihari and the other middle-order guys in the squad," Prasad told SportsKeeda.
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Pandya bowled a bit during the T20Is against Australia last year, followed by a few overs during the limited-overs leg against England in March end. Besides, Pandya has been used primarily as a batsman. He did not bowl during the IPL 2021 for Mumbai Indians either and his form with the bat has also been under scrutiny. The last time India played a Test series in England, Pandya picked up a five-wicket-haul and Prasad mentioned India would require something similar from the all-rounder.
"If at all he’s fit to bowl, only then he should be picked. If he can’t bowl, he shouldn’t be picked – as simple as that. He should be in the squad only if he’s bowling, he will add balance to the side as an all-rounder. He will be a big asset to the side if he bowls those 12-15 overs in a day. That’s what he did in Nottingham in 2018, when he picked a five-wicket haul," Prasad pointed out.