‘Glad Kuldeep, Chahal selection paid off,’ says MSK Prasad

BCCI chief selector M.S.K. Prasad says going by current form, it makes sense to continue with the spin twin for sometime, but door still not shut for Ashwin, Jadeja. 

M. S. K. Prasad said he was extremely happy with the performances of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the ongoing series against South Africa.   -  PTI

When wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were preferred ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the India limited-overs team last year, the BCCI selectors had to keep their answers ready. “There was a lot of criticism,” chief selector M. S. K. Prasad said while watching the Vijay Hazare Trophy clash between Mumbai and Tamil Nadu here at the S.S.N. College Ground on Thursday afternoon.

READ: It’s unbelievable: Kohli on Chahal-Yadav spin web

The former India stumper’s satisfaction reached a new high when Kuldeep and Chahal proved that the spin game isn’t restricted to the subcontinent. A few hours after the duo demolished South Africa in the third ODI at Cape Town, raising their joint-wicket tally to 21 in the ongoing series, Sportstar caught up with Prasad while he was on his job.

Excerpts from the interview:

Kuldeep and Chahal have been spinning South Africa in and out, you must be a happy man today. What are your thoughts on their performance?

It’s really heartening to see an Indian cricket team dominate overseas, that too in South Africa. When they were picked, it led to criticisms but with all due respect to everyone, we wanted to bring in variety in the spin bowling department. We wanted to increase the pool of spinners, as in the base, like we have done with the batting and seam bowling department. It is a process and they are doing well with every game against all teams. I am glad that it paid off and I am looking forward to seeing them perform consistently against the best sides.

How tough will it be for Ashwin and Jadeja to stage a comeback?

There is always a chance. As I said, we wanted to have a base of spinners and in the process, we gave opportunities to Kuldeep and Chahal, which they grabbed. Right now, it makes sense to continue with them for sometime and then analyse the future.

But we lost the Test series 2-1…

Though the numbers say 2-1, I would still say we won the series as we dominated the South African team in its own den. We took 60 wickets in three Tests, which shows the strength of our bowling.

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The way the boys came strong in the third Test proves their hard work. The nerves of steel on those wickets will go down as one of the best victories in the Indian cricket history, it is going to set the tone for the future generation.

If you play tough cricket, you can beat any team, that’s the message they conveyed in the last game. The team has been well led by Virat (Kohli).

Since you are keeping an eye on the domestic 50-over tournament now, what have been the take-aways so far?

The quality of the Vijay Hazare Trophy is going up. There was a stage when we were struggling to find spinners, now there is a quality spinner in every game. The quality of Indian domestic cricket is good, because we have been evolving. Some of the systems across the world became stagnant. We never faced that situation. I want to give full marks to Rahul Dravid (the India U-19 coach) and also, Sourav Ganguly (who is a part of the Cricket Advisory Committee and Technical Committee) for still being good team members of the BCCI. The game is a wonderful mix of talent in different pools.

What do you think is the secret behind the evolution?

We keep changing things, and the IPL has been of help too. In the 2016/17 Ranji Trophy season, we tried the neutral venue idea.

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This season, we were back with the home and away format. IPL has improved the fitness of the Indian players which also boosted the fielding.

What are your thoughts on the India U-19 team that won the World Cup?

Being undefeated throughout is a huge thing. They started their campaign against Australia and maintained the tempo. I also want to congratulate Venkatesh Prasad (Chairman, Junior Selection Committee). It is not easy to spot talents and put them together to win a World Cup. The four World Cup wins also shows the strength of our junior cricket and the investment BCCI does; right from U-16 to U-19.

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