Need a fitter squad, says selector Prasad

As the Indian team competed a whitewash at Pallekele, selection committee chairman M. S. K. Prasad stressed on the need for better fitness levels, the team's rotation policy and Yuvraj Singh's future, among other topics.

"We need to raise our fielding standards," said selection committee chairman M. S. K. Prasad, indicating that the BCCI will release an official note on the same soon.   -  PTI

The accent is on a fitter, stronger Indian team with the lodestone being the 2019 World Cup in England. Selection committee chairman M. S. K. Prasad spelt out this specific goal in his media-interaction here on Monday afternoon while on the turf Virat Kohli’s men were on their way towards a series  sweep.

Excerpts:

Fitness the ultimate yardstick
If I put my hand on my heart and say, after the Champions Trophy we felt that we need to be a fitter, stronger side. We need to raise our fielding standards. There will be an official note from the BCCI. We are fixing fitness parameters.

We have two to three phases in those parameters leading up to the 2019 World Cup and if someone fails to match those parameters, he will not be considered irrespective of whoever it is. Skill-level, we are number one but when it comes to fitness, we need to raise our standards.

 




Selecting Manish Pandey and Shardul Thakur in the ODI squad
We need to give due recognition to performances at the domestic level and also on ‘A’ tours. We have around 25 players and we will rotate them and see how they progress. After a certain period, we will (draw a) short-list and focus on those players leading into the World Cup.

The Yuvraj question
We initiated the process of rotating and resting some of the players so that we can see how the youngsters do. We will take a final call by the end of the year.

You can say that Yuvraj is rested. Doors are never closed. In terms of selection, we try to pick the best possible team.

READ: Yuvraj, Ashwin, Jadeja not picked for SL limited-overs series

Dhoni and the World Cup
He is a legend and yes we have a plan. Discussions happen about everybody, it is not just about MS. I was reading (Andre) Agassi’s book ‘Open’, and for him life actually started after 30 years. He played till 36 and won so many grand-slams. So you never know.

We don’t say it (Dhoni’s selection) is automatic but we will see. If he is delivering, why not? If he is not, then we will have to look at alternatives.

K. L. Rahul at number four
We will try K. L. Rahul at No. 4 in this (ODI) series. He is too good a player to sit out. These are different permutations and combinations we will try.

Rishabh Pant and the road ahead
Rishabh is one to watch out for in the future. We have been grooming him for ‘A’ tours. He went to South Africa but had an ordinary tour but that doesn’t mean he is not in our radar. There is one more ‘A’ tour coming up. We all know Rishabh more as a Twenty20 player, so we will look at him in that format too.

Rahul Dravid as India ‘A’ coach
We are blessed to have Rahul at the ‘A’ level as he is giving finished products to the senior team. It is lucrative and glamorous to be a senior India coach, but for accepting the ‘A’ team (coaching role) we have to give credit to Rahul.