M. S. K. Prasad: Selectors must have a say in determining the playing XI

Prasad looks back at his four-year tenure as chairman of the BCCI selection panel.

M. S. K. Prasad...“Criticism should always be healthy and any criticism with ulterior motive should always be neglected.”   -  Vivek Bendre

The new India selection panel must have a say in picking the playing XI and the BCCI constitution should be amended to make it happen, former chief selector M. S. K. Prasad said on Saturday.

Prasad just completed an eventful tenure in the selection panel during which he successfully oversaw the transition of leadership from M. S. Dhoni to Virat Kohli. In his four-year term, India won a Test series in Australia for the first time; however, his bigger contribution was to create a robust supply line of India-A players.

Should selectors have a vote in choosing the playing XI? “I personally feel this flaw in the new reforms has to be amended at all costs so that there will be equal responsibility of the outcomes,” Prasad replied, in an interview with PTI. The playing XI, till date, remains a matter decided by the coach and captain.

'Synergy'

Prasad understood, however, that the perspective of the team management on the matter would be a bit different. “Generally, the selectors have a macro picture looking at [the] whole of Indian cricket, and the team management has this micro picture of Indian team. But over a period of time, with the relationships being built between the selectors, captain and team management, there will be a synergy of thought-process due to the mutual respect that they share,” the former India stumper said.

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The stature of his committee was questioned, but Prasad did not care for the brickbats. “Criticism should always be healthy and any criticism with ulterior motive should always be neglected,” he said.

The switch from Dhoni to Kohli was seamless, which gives him a lot of satisfaction. “Handling the transition period of M. S. D. to Virat and developing substantial bench strength had been the biggest success of our committee,” he said.

'So close yet so far'

Prasad still regrets India’s loss in the Test series in South Africa and England, and the heartbreaking semifinal defeat in the World Cup. “Of course, [I regret] the Test series losses in [South Africa and] England and [the] World Cup loss in semifinals. I think we deserved to win all three of them. It was so close yet so far,” Prasad said.

In the 2019 World Cup, India paid the price for a bad session of play, says Prasad. - GETTY IMAGES

 

Prasad discarded the notion that India’s unsettled No. 4 batting position could have sowed seeds of the disappointment of the semifinal. “I keep saying this that we have not lost the World Cup because of [the] No. 4 position. When our team reached top of the table prior to that semifinal games, that speaks [volumes]. It was one bad session that cost us the World Cup,” he said.

'Clear plans'

As he looked back, Prasad was extremely proud of how he got along with colleagues Devang Gandhi, Jatin Paranjpe, Gagan Khoda and Sarandeep Singh, and created a supply line from domestic cricket. “We had very clear plans and shared the roles and accordingly, I posted the selectors for the domestic games. My strength had been my colleagues whose hard work and commitment had helped in building this wonderful Indian team across all formats.”

At the end of his journey, he thanked former Andhra Cricket Association head Gokaraju Gangaraju, along with all the former office bearers, coaches and captains who worked during his tenure. “It wouldn’t be appropriate if I don’t thank all the captains — M. S. D., Virat, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane — along with coaches Ravi Shastri, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid, and their respective team managements with whom I worked in the last four years,” he said.

“I am confident that under [BCCI president] Sourav Ganguly and [secretary] Jay Shah, Indian cricket will reach greater heights,” he signed off.

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