After the humiliating loss at the hands of England, the world’s #1 Test team is trying to recuperate. Apart from captain Kohli, every other batsman delivered an average performance. During an interview with BCCI chief selector, MSK Prasad had a few things to say.
When asked about the defeat in England, Prasad said that the results did not really show how intense the fight was. He believed that some key moments in the match should have been used by India to seal its victory but instead, India let it slide.
He praised the fast bowlers and commended the fact that 60 plus wickets were taken in 5 matches and that the bowling, fielding, and fitness are all up to the mark and it is only the batting which was found wanting more. However, he said that India really needs to find a way to pick up wickets in the end.
Talking about the position of batsmen, MSK said that players picked for certain positions need to be given an opportunity to play completely and only then should the focus shift to youngsters. He pointed out the fact that it wasn’t just the Indian openers who failed miserably but so did the English openers, owing to the tough conditions.
He said that Pujara and Rahane do have enough experience batting at no. 3 and 5 respectively and have become dependable batsmen in the middle order. They performed relatively well but lacked consistency.
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MSK was stern when he said that if payers don’t deliver even after being given enough opportunities, then the gaze must shift to youngsters who are doing well I India ‘A’ or domestic cricket. On this note, when asked about Shikhar Dhawan being picked for England based o the one-off at Afghanistan, Prasad said that many factors and combinations play a key role when selecting for a series as important as the England series, such as experience, consistency, etc.
Regarding Wriddhiman Saha’s injury, Prasad said that he regularly receives reports about all players undergoing rehabilitation at NCA, under the guidance of Patrick Farhart, the physiotherapist. He said that there was no truth in the rumor that the selectors were unaware of Wriddhiman’s injury. Not just contracted players, but Prasad and his colleagues are updated even on the fitness reports of India ‘A’ players.
When asked about concerns raised during the IPL about injury prevention and workload management, Prasad said that they have a clear plan in place. He said that the astounding performance of the bowlers in England and South Africa bear proof to the fact that the workload management program is doing well.
He was proud of the fitness of the team as the players played with the same intensity on the last day as on the first day in England. Also, fitness standards have been raised, which have made players more efficient. Virat Kohli has been rested for the Asia Cup as a part of the injury prevention program. He also said that a few more players would be rested for the upcoming homes series prior to the Australia tour.
Prasad was highly appreciative of Ashwin’s performance and even called him one of the best spinners in the world today. He agreed when asked about whether players should be made to play domestic cricket if they fail to perform for India. In order to prepare for Australia, Prasad said that the bowling was settled and it was the batting which needs to be focused on. Prasad also revealed that the selectors had already prepared a blueprint for the World Cup, which is only eight months away.