The former chief selector had also received flak for his continuous push to the young cricketer Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant has evolved both as a wicketkeeper and a batsman since his international debut a couple of years ago. His breakthrough performance came against the Australia tour of 2020-21 where India historically won the fourth test match and bagged the series. Pant powered India’s chase of 328 runs on the fifth day with an unbeaten knock of 89 runs which also included the winning four.
However, the young left-handed batsman was criticised for his initial sporadic form and many viewed him as selectors’ favourite despite consistently performing below average.
MSK Prasad, the former chief selector of Indian men’s cricket team, held the position for more than three years between September 2016 and March 2020. It was during his tenure that Pant was selected in the national team as the wicketkeeper option in absence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The former chief selector had also received flak for his continuous push to the young cricketer, and also for his comments of Dhoni who had taken a sabbatical from international cricket after the 2019 ODI World Cup.
But now as Pant has risen in the ranks of the Indian cricket team, Prasad feels almost vindicated. During a recent conversation with a sports website, he recalled the controversies when Pant was given a spot in the Indian team.
“People said that he can’t bat in Test cricket and can’t keep in challenging wickets. So, what has happened today? See, how he kept wickets against England at home," the former chief selector told cricket.com.
Prasad also underlined the contributions of Pant in England and Australia tours, and said a selector’s role is to identify the potential in a cricketer. “Many people never believed that Pant would be so good."
The former chief selector also explained why Pant was favoured over Wriddhiman Saha, who Prasad himself believed to be the best wicketkeeper in the team at the time. He said batting skills are preferred over wicket keeping skills in away tests, and Pant proved his testament in overseas tours.
Prasad now believes Pant has convinced the management team about his importance in the team through his batting performance in Australia and with his keeping skills against England at home earlier this year.