PARTAB RAMCHAND | 30 NOVEMBER, 2019
It Has Been An Eventful Tenure For MSK Prasad
His tenure ends shortly and it is inevitable that MSK Prasad’s term as selection committee chairman should be an eventful one. The positives far outweigh the negatives and he can look back with satisfaction at a job well done. Yes, selectors face only criticism and hardly get any praise. They have been called a bunch of jokers and worse and the present selection committee too had their share of jibes particularly since they collectively had limited international careers. But overall taking a balanced and dispassionate view the fact remains that Prasad leaves the scene with Indian cricket in the pink of health and if a lot of the credit should go to the players the selectors deserve their share too in giving many youngsters the big break at the right time.
This is the point that Prasad has been driving home in the interviews he has given lately. The legacy of his selection committee he says is the ammunition the team has across formats so that it can stay at the top. He is of the view that the bench strength the committee has built will last six to seven years with the result that the Indian team will continue to prosper in international cricket. Right now it is No 1 in Tests and No 2 in ODIs but Prasad is confident that India will call the shots in T-20 internationals too starting with the World Cup to be held in Australia next year.
According to the 44-year-old former Indian stumper who played six Tests and 17 ODIs when he took over he wanted to build a team that could win in all formats and across the world. He pointed out that the Indian team came up with a great show in winning a Test series in Australia for the first time. It is true that the results in South Africa and England didn’t go in India’s favour but as Prasad is quick to add ``the way we fought it could have been anyone’s game.’’ He emphasized that the committee has helped build a winning culture and ``today no team be it England, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa will prepare seaming tracks when we visit. We have been able to scare the world with our pace bowling unit.’’ He is of the view that ``we now have a complete team, we have amazing talent in all departments of the game and we have all bases covered.’’
Prasad was justifiably proud about the drafting of Jasprit Bumah considered for long as a limited overs specialist into the Test team. Not many believed that he could play Test cricket Prasad said so the selectors set him on a fitness and grooming regime. ``We rested him from a limited overs series and made him play Ranji Trophy before we picked him for the Test series in South Africa so there was planning that went behind his inclusion.’’ He also touched upon the inclusion of Hardik Pandya in the Test team. Here again not many reckoned that a cricketer who came from a T-20 background could go on to play Test cricket. But he proved the selectors right.
On making a few incorrect decisions Prasad pointed out that selection was all about forecasting. ``At times you might be right but on occasion you may go wrong as well. As selectors our job is to pick the best possible squad that can give you the best results.’’ Indeed Prasad’s selection committee has been lauded for defining a concrete path to India selection through domestic, age-group and A teams cricket. ``We have looked at the requirements of the senior team and groomed players based on that. Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are a few examples,’’ he said.
Terming criticism as an ``occupational hazard’’ Prasad is of the view that as long as you are honest about what you are doing and your intentions are right you don’t need to worry about criticism. In the ultimate analysis the Indian team is enjoying an unprecedented run of success and that should be the bottom line in judging this selection committee’s work.