MSK Prasad: 'Selectors now part of choosing playing XI'

The chairman of the Indian cricket selection panel revealed that as per the new policy of the Board, the selectors too were a part of the process for picking the playing XI for an international contest apart from the captain, vice-captain and the coach.

M. S. K. Prasad said that selectors prefered watching players returning from injury to play any type of domestic matches to assess their conditions before selecting them for the national side.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

The chairman of the Indian cricket selection panel M.S.K. Prasad revealed to Sportstar here on Wednesday that as per the new policy of the Board, the selectors too were a part of the process for picking the playing XI for an international contest.

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Traditionally, the selectors pick the squad but the team is chosen by the management that includes the captain, the coach and the vice-captain.

Also read: >Skipper Kohli picks Rahul as India's first choice opener

Prasad said: “The selectors now are present at the meeting to name the eleven and their inputs are sought by the team-management. We are a part of the process for selecting the playing XI.”

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He added, “One selector watches a Test match at home [the others, he said, were following domestic matches] while two travel with the team on tours.”

Prasad said, “The selectors have an excellent rapport with the captains for the different formats and coach Anil Kumble. We are all one team working together for the betterment of Indian cricket.”

Assessing players’ return

On the recent move to get the players returning from injuries to prove their fitness in competitive cricket, Prasad said, “It has really worked, prevents injury-returned players from breaking down in matches. I was there in Vizianagaram to watch K. L. Rahul and saw for myself how well he had recovered from a hamstring strain. He batted beautifully and fielded well.”

Prasad added, “Sometimes, first-class or domestic cricket is not taking place when we want to assess the fitness of a cricketer. Then, we even watch him in smaller games. In fact, two national selectors travelled to see paceman Mohammed Shami in action in a local league game. We want to be sure about a player’s fitness before selecting him again.”

The former India wicketkeeper-batsman said that the selectors wanted to create a strong bench strength. “When Rahul was injured we had Gautam Gambhir. We also have other openers such as Shikhar Dhawan and Abhinav Mukund who is batting fantastically this season. Similarly we want to create depth in all departments so that injuries do not affect the team.”

Prasad was pleased about India playing so many Tests this season. “I believe every home season must be like this. ODIs and Twenty20 cricket have more colour but Test cricket is the real cricket.”