After Sunil Gavaskar expressed surprise why Virat Kohli’s captaincy was automatically allowed and called the selectors “lame ducks,” Chief Selector MSK Prasad defended his panel vigorously.
Prasad, in an interview, termed Gavaskar’s ‘lame duck’ comment as ‘unfortunate’, but said that it only made his committee ‘stronger’.
“It is very unfortunate. We have utmost respect for the legendary cricketers. Every opinion expressed by them is taken in right earnest. They have their viewpoints which are well- received. In fact, more than getting hurt by this kind of comments, it only makes this selection committee stronger, committed and united,” the former India stumper hit back.
Sunil Gavaskar had said that Virat Kohli’s appointment as captain was till the World Cup 2019 and thus there should have been a formal meeting to re-appoint Kohli before the MSK Prasad led selection committee named him as captain of the team across all the three formats for the West Indies tour that starts from August 3.
Prasad also denied speculation that Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have tried to manipulate the panel on certain decisions.
“Shastri and Kohli are the coach and captain of our senior team and Rahul Dravid looks after India A team. They have their roles and responsibilities cut out. We as selection committee have our roles and responsibilities. Working in tandem and in solidarity with Ravi, Virat and Rahul cannot be taken as being bullied,” he said.
“There were several occasions we had difference of opinions which we may not bring into the public domain. What happens within the four walls has to remain there. At the end of the day, we move on in the larger interest of the Indian team and the country,” he added.
Replying to critics who point out that the present five-man national selection panel has played a combined 13 Tests between them; Prasad cited the example of England and Australia, where little- known former cricketers like Ed Smith and Trevor Hohns are chief selectors.
“It is a common misconception that people think players who have played more cricket have more knowledge or more power and can bully anybody but it not the fact. If that is the case then the entire coaching unit, selection committee and all other relevant fields should be filled with only those people who have had vast international careers as players. I don’t think this is right,” he said.
Highlighting the panel’s achievement in the last three years, Prasad said: “Our committee has travelled across the length and breadth of the country to identify fresh talent from domestic cricket and groomed the selected bunch through a systematic process and inducted the deserving players into the India A and further into the senior Indian teams.