'Team selection is purely on merit'
Chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar may be drawing criticism for being too harsh to Rahul Dravid by dropping him from the squad for the first two ODIs against Pakistan, but the man on the hot seat insisted that he picked the team "purely on merit".
"You cannot make everybody happy. Every time you have to pick the best combination, a winning combination. If we pick somebody, we are asked, 'Why did you pick him?' If we drop somebody, we are asked, 'Why did you drop him?' (But) it's how you take it. You must have the courage of conviction," Vengsarkar said.
"We pick a player on his form and fitness. And purely on merit. You watch cricket and you know how well the person is batting, whether he is in form or not," he was quoted as saying by 'cricinfo'.
He, however, refused to elaborate what he meant by out-of-form.
"When you pick a player it means you believe in him, unless he proves you wrong. But that is very rare," he said, adding "you can't put numbers to it. For instance, say that if the player does not perform for five games, he is out. You cannot do that".
Asked if it was difficult to drop a senior player, Vengsarkar said, "there is nothing like senior, junior or middle-aged guys. Just because someone is a youngster, he won't be getting half-volleys in international cricket. Everyone has to be picked on merit, form and fitness." On who would take the place of Rahul Dravid, who was a regular in the middle order, Vengsarkar said, "at this stage Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir are there and waiting in the wings are Manoj Tiwary, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma. So we have a lot of options".