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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

We have system in place, we don’t bypass it, says Chief selector MSK Prasad

Asked if the criticism was right and whether his panel struggles to overrule skipper Virat Kohli in selection matters, MSK Prasad said there is a system in place which they follow and there is no question of being over-ruled.

cricket Updated: Jul 31, 2019 10:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File photo of India chief selector MSK Prasad.
File photo of India chief selector MSK Prasad.(Arijit Sen/HT PHOTO)

The national cricket selectors are under the pump for some of their recent player picks. Inexperience among the five members as international players has also led to India legend Sunil Gavaskar calling them “lame ducks”. On Tuesday, chief selector, MSK Prasad, a former India stumper, hit back, saying the condemnation was unfair.

After Gavaskar’s sharp comments on Monday, another former India skipper, Dilip Vengsarkar, called out the panel for lacking spine. “(There are) question marks over this selection panel. It seems they are not accountable to BCCI,” Vengsarkar said on Tuesday.

Asked if the criticism was right and whether his panel struggles to overrule skipper Virat Kohli in selection matters, Prasad said there is a system in place which they follow and there is no question of being over-ruled.

“I don’t need to answer that. That (overruling) is not the right way to say. A system has been put in place, we know who is the next guy coming in. We have a very clear percussion chart.

What is the problem in that (following a system)? Where is the question of bypassing that? We have come through a proper systematic process. It isn’t that we have jumped the gun,” he told Hindustan Times.

Prasad said former cricketers are entitled to their opinion. “It is ok. Everyone has an opinion and we’ve given clarification to it. Post World Cup and selection for the West Indies tour, I have made each and everything clear. Still, if someone has an opinion, they can give. We respect their opinions, but I’ve clearly mentioned the reasons behind selections. Have you ever seen anyone explain (selections) like this before?” he asked.

Short on experience

The Indian selection panel is short on international experience, leading to inferences that they cannot take on the Indian team management.

Prasad says not having played many international games during their career is not a valid reason to be termed weak. “I made it very clear, the requirement of selection committee members. In parallel, I have discussed it in comparison with members in other parts of the world,” he said, referring an interview to PTI on Tuesday where he explained that apart from their matches for India, they have collectively played 477 first-class matches, and importantly watched 200 matches in their tenure.

He asked if a long international career was not the criterion in other big cricketing nations, why should it be the case in India.

“If one is talking about stature and international experience, Ed Smith, who is the current chairman for England and Wales Cricket Board, has played only one Test.

“Trevor Hohns, who is the chairman of Cricket Australia’s selection committee for over a decade-and-half with a couple of years break in between, has played only seven Tests. And, oh yes, Mark Waugh, who played 128 Test matches and 244 ODIs, worked under Trevor. Legendary Australian player and captain Greg Chappell, who played 87 Test matches and 74 ODIs for his country, is also working under Trevor now,” he told PTI.

“It is a common misconception that people think players who have played more cricket have more knowledge or more power and can bully anybody, but it is not the fact. If that is the case, then the entire coaching unit, selection committee and all other relevant fields should be filled with only those people who have had vast international careers as players. I don’t think this is right,” Prasad added.

Vengsarkar not impressed

However, Vengsarkar, who was chief selector from 2006 to 08, criticised the current panel over selection for the West Indies trip.

“Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad have made runs consistently, and still they have not got a chance to represent India. They should have at least got selected for ODIs and T20s on the West Indies tour. Someone from the selection committee must have visited West Indies when India A were playing ODIs? Then why has the person not proposed these two names? Has someone asked him about it? Or, did the person only go to enjoy the West Indies?” asked Vengsarkar.

The selectors faced questions during the World Cup too. Both Rishabh Pant and Mayank Agarwal, who hasn’t played ODIs, were called up as injury replacements while Ambati Rayudu, who played regularly ahead of the World Cup, was ignored.

However, Prasad’s panel did find some support. Former India batsman and TV commentator Sanjay Manjrekar said integrity was more important than stature.

“Respectfully disagree with Gavaskar Sir with his views on Indian selectors & Virat being retained as capt. No, Ind did not put in a ‘much below par WC performance’, they won 7 lost two. Last one very narrowly. And integrity a far more important quality as selector than stature (sic),” he tweeted.

First Published: Jul 30, 2019 23:57 IST

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