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Selection Chief Prasad Hits Back at Gavaskar 'Stature' Jibe, Says Comments Unfortunate

India's selection panel has been under the scanner in recent times, ever since Sunil Gavaskar called them 'lame ducks' who were potentially bullied by the team management. MSK Prasad, Sarandeep Singh, Devang Gandhi, Jatin Paranjape and Gagan Khoda have a combined experience of just 13 Tests matches, which Gavaskar argued wasn't enough to stand up to the superstars of the current Indian side.

Cricketnext Staff |July 30, 2019, 4:51 PM IST
Selection Chief Prasad Hits Back at Gavaskar 'Stature' Jibe, Says Comments Unfortunate

India's selection panel has been under the scanner in recent times, ever since Sunil Gavaskar called them 'lame ducks' who were potentially bullied by the team management. MSK Prasad, Sarandeep Singh, Devang Gandhi, Jatin Paranjape and Gagan Khoda have a combined experience of just 13 Tests matches, which Gavaskar argued wasn't enough to stand up to the superstars of the current Indian side.

Gavaskar's views were opposed by Sanjay Manjrekar, who said 'integrity was more important than stature' for a selector. Now, the chief selector Prasad himself has spoken up, pointing to similar 'inexperienced' selectors in other countries.

"If one is talking about stature and international experience, Ed Smith, who is the current chairman for Engand and Wales Cricket Board has played only one Test. Trevor Hohns, who is the chairman of Cricket Australia's selection committee for over a decade and half with a couple of years break in between, has played only seven Tests. And Oh yes, Mark Waugh, who played 128 Test matches and 244 ODIs, worked under Trevor," pointed out Prasad, talking to PTI.

"Legendary Australian player and captain Greg Chappell, who played 87 Test matches and 74 ODIs for his country, is also working under Trevor now. When stature and international experience doesn't come into picture in those countries, how will it come in the way in our country? The point that I am driving here is that every job has its own demands."

Prasad also came closer home with the example of Raj Singh Durgapur picking Sachin Tendulkar in 1989.

"If vast International experience is the question then our beloved late Sri Raj Singh Dungarpur wouldn't have been the chairman of the senior selection committee as he never played international cricket. Maybe a diamond called Sachin Tendulkar wouldn't have been unearthed at only 16 years," he said. "If International experience is the case, then many ex-cricketers, who have played lot of first-class matches can never ever dream to become India selectors. How far is it right and justifiable to comment on stature and international experience of the selection committee when the job actually demands a different expertise to spot talent?

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"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 is 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."

Asked if comments like 'lame ducks' make him angry, Prasad said it only made his team stronger. He stressed that his panel was not one to be intimidated, as each of them had specific roles to play.

"It is very unfortunate. We have utmost respect for the legendary cricketers," he said. "Every opinion expressed by them is taken in right earnest. They have their viewpoints which is well-received. In fact, more than getting hurt by this kind of comments, it only makes this selection committee stronger, committed and united.

"Ravi Shastri and Virat 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. 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."

The 2019 World Cup was the selection committee's stiffest challenge, and the pressure on them has mounted after the semifinal exit. The committee's failure to solve the middle-order mess in particular has come under the scanner, but Prasad chose to focus on their consistent success over the last three years since they took over in 2016.

"Our Test team won 11 out of 13 Test series and we are now ranked No. 1 in ICC for last 3 years," he said. "We have had 80-85 percent success rate in ODIs. We were No. 1 in ODI rankings till the semi-final loss in the World Cup. We have reached finals in the Champions Trophy (2017). We have won 2 Asia Cups (2016 and 18).

"We won 11 out of 11 India A ODI series which include 4 quadrangular series, we had won 8 out of 9 India A Test series. We have groomed around 35 new players and inducted them into the senior Indian teams across three formats and we have developed sufficient bench strengths in all departments of the game. We are more than happy to pass on the baton to the next committee with pride of preparing an excellent succession chart."

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