By Prem Mohanty
If a team is doing well on a consistent basis, selection meetings become much easier to negotiate. The selectors have to choose only back up options and who deserves the one way ticket to stardom becomes all the more debatable. The squad for India’s tour to New Zealand was picked as much on merits of previous tours as it was on performances in the domestic scene. A few players may feel hard done by in the current set up but to be fair the die was already thrown in before the number was called.
Regional bias, zonal selection merits, domestic clout, BCCI bigwigs all contribute to team selection. If the above statement were analyzed in the true sense of team selection, it would be politically correct to say that selecting from a pool of hundreds of players is no mean task. Team selection especially in Indian cricket is one of the most difficult jobs in world cricket and the pressure is sometimes overwhelming to select the final 15. Now that we have three different formats of the game, selectors are breathing a sigh of relief.
Laxmipathy Balaji after having played the lone one dayer in Sri Lanka is back into the scheme of things in the Test arena. This is inexplicable to the layman but in broader terms it is smart selection. Balaji has been in prime form in the just concluded Ranji season and even if he had not made the cut for the SL ODI’s, his selection for the NZ tour was a formality.
Coming to M Vijay, now this lad had his baptism by fire against Australia and his temperament and work ethic impressed one and all. He deserves an opportunity and why he wasn’t selected for the England test matches is a mystery. Dinesh Karthik is not a greenhorn having been in the setup for over four years now. His form in the domestic season is decent and if the captain prefers him to be the reserve wicket keeper then his selection is also without doubt a sound one.
All this talk of zonal bias is negative and does not show the real facets of selection. As I have seen it, domestic performances and past merits have shown the way for the selection committee’s choices. If the Chief Selector is from Tamil Nadu it does not mean he is favoring players from his State. Yes if someone from his state is doing well and merits selection, he has the right to give them a decent opportunity.
Throughout the decades we have questions being raised on team selection and selectors, but in the end it all adds up to nothing. Asking questions and judging which selection is fair and which is not, puts even more pressure on players. Our job is to support the team and celebrate the victories, not criticise team selection and selection policies. Selection is based solely on performance and that is the only criteria used as a yardstick.
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