Dhoni, Pant, Rayudu: 8 Things MSK Prasad Clarified at Selection PC

Dhoni, Pant, Rayudu: 8 Things MSK Prasad Clarified at Selection PC

Cricket

Chief selector MSK Prasad on Sunday addressed a press conference in Mumbai on Sunday, 21 July after announcing the Indian team for the tour of West Indies.

Prasad addressing a room full of journalists for the first time since the start of the World Cup shed light on host of topics ranging from Dhoni’s retirement to Rayudu’s tweet, along with addressing concerns regarding the selected lot of cricketers.

Here’s a look at the eight talking points from Prasad’s conference:

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Dhoni’s Retirement

Dhoni has not announced his retirement from international cricket amid widespread speculations but has made himself unavailable for the next two months as he will be serving his regiment in paramilitary forces

Without divulging much on two-time World Cup winning captain's future plans, Prasad said that a legend like Dhoni knows when to retire but the future course of Indian cricket will be charted by the selectors.

“Retirement is purely individual (decision). A legendary cricketer like Dhoni, he knows when to retire. What is the future course of action, that is in the hands of the selection committee. I don’t think we need to discuss anything more on it. First of all he is not available. Second, we have already started grooming youngsters.”
MSK Prasad

Rishabh Pant’s Future Plan

Prasad on Sunday insisted that the management wants to groom young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who has been included in all the three squads for the upcoming tour to the West Indies.

Pant will be India's lone wicketkeeper in the limited-overs leg of the West Indies tour while in the Test he will have Wriddhiman Saha for company.

“He (Dhoni) is unavailable for this series. We had certain roadmaps till World Cup and we subsequently have some plans and we want to groom Pant and that is the plan right now. Pant hasn’t done anything wrong for his non-inclusion in the playing XI,” said Prasad while announcing the squad. Rishabh Pant will be playing all the three formats so we will have to look about his workload management.”
MSK Prasad

Roadmap for the Future

The BCCI chief selector further said that the squads for the West Indies tour have been announced keeping in consideration the performances of the players who are playing for India 'A' in the Caribbean Islands.

Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rahul Chahar, Navdeep Saini and Krunal Pandya are among the ones who have been playing for India 'A' against West Indies 'A'.

“We have taken India ‘A’ performances into consideration.”
MSK Prasad

Rishabh Pant & Mayank Agarwal’s WC Inclusion

Pant was not included in the initial World Cup squad and was then called in as a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan, who got injured during India's round-robin match against Australia. Prasad said that the 21-year-old was inducted into the World Cup squad on the insistence of the team management who felt the need of a left-handed batsman at the top of the order.

“I don’t do press conference in between any series and that has led to speculations. When Dhawan got injured, we already had a third opener in KL (Rahul). We didn’t have a left hander at top so the team management had requested for a left-hander and we had no option other than Pant. It confused many why middle-order came in for opener.”
MSK Prasad

During the course of the event where India reached the semis, Mayank Agarwal was also called in as replacement for Vijay Shankar.

“When Shankar was injured, Rahul had a big fall at the boundary so there was a medical emergency on whether he will continue or not. At that time, a written communication was given that a back-up opener was needed. That is when we went to Mayank.”
MSK Prasad

Rayudu’s Retirement

Rayudu, who was till January being touted as India's No 4 for the World Cup, lost the spot to Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who was termed as a "three dimensional player" by Prasad.

After the announcement, Ambati Rayudu's sarcasm-laden '3D tweet' might have hastened his international retirement but Prasad defended the recently-retired Hyderabadi's non-exclusion from the World Cup squad, asserting that his panel cannot be accused of bias.

While Rayudu has every reason to be aggrieved, Prasad reminded that when he had failed a fitness test after being picked on the basis of his T20 performances, his panel had backed the Hyderabad man.

But he made it clear that his committee can't be accused of "bias or favouritism". He wanted to clear the air that Rayudu couldn't be included purely because of the permutations and combinations and the selection committee didn't resort to any favouritism.

“That (Rayudu’s exclusion) doesn’t make the selection committee or me biased about any particular person. We know how emotional Rayudu is, we are also emotional. We as ex-cricketers, also feel for him.”
MSK Prasad

Reaction to Rayudu’s Tweet

After the exclusion, Rayudu's cryptic tweet: "Just Ordered a new set of 3d glasses to watch the world cup" was certainly directed at the selection committee and is widely believed to be the reason behind Rishabh Pant and Mayank Agarwal's inclusion as replacements. This led to Rayudu announcing retirement from all forms of cricket.

But Prasad had everyone laughing when asked about Rayudu's tweet.

“It was a lovely tweet. Very timely one. I really enjoyed the tweet. It was fantastic. I don’t know how it struck him.”
MSK Prasad

Hardik & Bumrah’s Absence

Hardik and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested as a part of the board's workload management programme. Bumrah, though, is part of the Test squad.

“Hardik Pandya has been part of certain programme. So he is not available. So is Jasprit Bumrah in shorter format.”
MSK Prasad

“There is some workload management programme. Looking at the itinerary the team management sits and work on the workload management. Before any selection meeting they give us a list and based on that we go ahead with the selection,” said Prasad.

Return of Wriddhiman Saha

A notable inclusion was veteran keeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, who is back in the Test squad after undergoing a shoulder surgery for an injury, sustained during the 2018 IPL.

Saha last played a Test match in South Africa in January 2018.

In the longer format, KS Bharat was very, very close to get selected. We have an unwritten norm that when an established cricketer is injured, he should get a comeback opportunity. That’s what we have given to Saha.”
MSK Prasad

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