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‘Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni can’t be dropped like a hat from Indian cricket team’

Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni’s place in the Indian cricket team have come under the scanner following their average performance in the recently-concluded West Indies series but MSK Prasad, the chairman of the national selection panel, says the selectors cannot take a sudden call.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Jul 31, 2017 18:18 IST
Devarchit Verma
Devarchit Verma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs Sri Lanka,MS Dhoni,Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh has said that he wants to play for the Indian cricket team until his form and fitness hold up while MS Dhoni has not divulged much about his cricketing future.(BCCI)

Former wicketkeeper-batsman and the current chairman of India’s national selection panel, MSK Prasad has stated that there cannot be a sudden call made on the future of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh.

The questions over the future of two of India’s champion cricketers have lingered on for a while, especially after the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and the West Indies series. Despite India reaching the final of the tournament, there were demands from the cricket fraternity for the selectors to take a call on Dhoni and Yuvraj. While Yuvraj Singh has stated that he wants to continue playing till his form and fitness remain, MS Dhoni has not given any over his future.

With all eyes on the 2019 World Cup in England, the calls for some fresh faces is getting louder. However, the Indian selectors are not worried, and Prasad hinted that selectors must be prepared before deciding on anything as the preparations for the next World Cup start to pick up pace.

“We will see, we need to talk on that. We will have to take a decision, let’s see how it goes. We all know who can add value. Again, we will go slot by slot. We should know when to take a call. It’s not that suddenly you take a call and you are nowhere. You can’t be totally unprepared, so we need to be balanced on that aspect,” Prasad told Wisden India.

Both Dhoni and Yuvraj have featured in limited-overs cricket for India in the recent past. While Dhoni retired from Tests during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2014-15 in Australia, Yuvraj has made no such call.

Both MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh had mixed returns in the Champions Trophy. Dhoni got to bat only twice in five matches in which he got one half-century, whereas Yuvraj, on the other hand, struggled for consistency as he managed a little over 100 runs in four innings with one half-century.

In the West Indies series, both MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh continued to have mixed fortunes. While Dhoni managed 154 runs in four innings, Yuvraj notched up only 57 runs. However, MS Dhoni was criticised heavily for his slow knock of 54 in the match in which India lost by 11 runs.

India’s loss, on both occasions, had attracted a lot of criticism on Yuvraj and Dhoni. Until the final, the top-order consisting tournament’s top-scorer Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had carried the team all by itself in the Champions Trophy.

The final against Pakistan provided Dhoni and Yuvraj do stage an encore of what they did against England at Cuttack earlier this year. In that game, India had lost their top order cheaply. Dhoni and Yuvraj came together and smacked memorable centuries to power India to a win. However, in the Champions Trophy summit clash, both were dismissed without troubling the scorers much.

Hardik Pandya was picked ahead of Jasprit Bumrah for the Sri Lankan team and MSK Prasad has said Pandya brings depth in both batting and bowling. ( AP )

Hardik over Bumrah debate

The chairman of selectors, meanwhile, also threw light over the selection of Hardik Pandya ahead of Jasprit Bumrah, who has been a consistent wicket-taker.

“Bumrah is good but unfortunately, playing here is like playing in India, it is another Asian country. The question was whether you required that extra seamer or not. That’s the reason we picked Hardik Pandya ahead of Bumrah, because Hardik can add value to the team both with his batting and his fielding. So whether we really want a third seamer (in the playing XI) in Sri Lankan conditions is a point of debate, and if at all we want a third seamer, he should be an all-rounder, that’s what we felt,” Prasad said

“Undoubtedly, Bumrah has done exceptionally well in the last year for sure. Last year in the Ranji Trophy, he did extremely well for Gujarat, won them the semifinal. Yes, Bumrah has the ability to play Test cricket. We will see what happens in future because we have enough away series coming up,” Prasad added.

Prasad says as a former MBA student and having gone through the pain of spending a lot of time away from the cricket field due to a serious injury and not able to inform the cricket authorities about the same, he understands the importance of communication and ensures there are proper channels in place. Under Prasad’s selection chairmanship, a few of India’s experienced cricketers such as Gautam Gambhir, Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik have been given chances whenever possible.

First Published: Jul 31, 2017 18:14 IST