Engineer prefers Parthiv to Rishabh in Tests

Former India stumper Farokh Engineer also questioned the credentials of the national selection committee led by M.S.K. Prasad.

Parthiv Patel (left) with Virat Kohli at a Team India training session.   -  FILE PHOTO/K. PICHUMANI


As India gears up for the Test series against Australia next month, former India star, Farokh Engineer, believes that this is the touring side’s best chance to beat the Aussies at home.

“Australia has got two big names missing… (Steven) Smith and (David) Warner. When you take out two big names, the team is weakened considerably. India will never have a better chance of beating Australia,” Engineer said, on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony of the 1886 Trophy at the Parsee Gymkhana here on Monday.

Engineer called the present Australian team pretty ordinary.

“We should make the most of the opportunity. India is playing very good cricket. We have a got a great captain Virat Kohli, who is doing extremely well. We have got an all-round side. We have got good pace bowlers, good spinners. Let’s take advantage of that and beat Australia at home,” Engineer said.

Farokh Engineer (centre) at the Parsee Gymkhana in Mumbai on Tuesday.   -  SHAYAN ACHARYA


While he is excited about India’s chances Down Under, Engineer — a wicketkeeper-batsman of repute — is a bit surprised to see Parthiv Patel and Rishabh Pant making it to the Test sqaud. “Unfortunately, we produce batsmen-keepers these days and not wicketkeeper-batsmen. In my time, you had to be a wicketkeeper first. You cannot let it side down. Even if you score big runs, but drop catches, it will cost you 200 runs. You have to be a wicketkeeper first,” he said.

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“I have seen one or two wicketkeepers. Pant was trying to play a reverse sweep even before he could get his eyes on the ball. He was out. Get your eyes in first. You don’t need to take chance,” the yesteryear star said.

While he would like to see a youngster like Pant in the limited-overs format, for Tests, Engineer would prefer a senior and experienced guy behind the stumps. “Pant has shown a lot of promise in batting. Parthiv is still fit. Rishabh will be my choice for one-dayers, for Tests it will be Parthiv, although he is 35,” the 80-year-old said.

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Known for speaking his mind, Engineer was sarcastic about the national selectors as well. Joking at the MSK Prasad-led panel, he said: “Who are your national selectors? Have they played much cricket? Do they deserve to be the national selectors? You have to play at a highest level, so that you know the game inside out. No point appointing the selectors politically,” he said.

With reports emerging that the age cap for BCCI selectors would likely be relaxed — as of now, selectors should be under 60, Engineer believes that someone like Dilip Vengsarkar must be brought in as the chief selector. “For me, the chairman of selectors is Dilip Vengsarkar. I will bring him back. He has played everywhere and there should be people like Mohinder (Amarnath), Kapil Dev… I don’t know if they have time, but you need such people who know the game and has played the game. People who have played one or two Test matches, should not be made selectors. Their associations represent them and that becomes political,” Engineer said.