Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir, speaking in a panel discussion with former chief selector MSK Prasad, said that some decisions taken by the selection committee – like picking Vijay Shankar over Ambati Rayudu for the 2019 World Cup – were ‘absolutely shocking’. He also said it is time for the India captain and coach to have more of a say in selection matters.
“The time has come when captain needs to be selectors as well. The captain and coach should be selectors. The selectors should have no say in the playing XI. The playing XI has to be captain’s responsibility. But at the same time the captain and the coach should be given the voting power because they cannot shrug off the responsibility of the selected team” Gambhir said on Star Sports show ‘Cricket Connect’.
MSK Prasad said the captain does not have a vote in the selection process, according to Indian cricket laws. “Captain has always had a say in selection process. There is no two ways about it. He does not have a vote, according to our bylaws,” he said.
Gambhir cited the ‘3D cricketer’ controversy that erupted prior to last year’s World Cup, saying this was not the kind of statement warranted from a chief selector.
He said, “Like it was with Vijay Shankar or whoever got picked in the World Cup. Some of the decisions were absolutely shocking. Probably not picking Ambati Rayudu in the World Cup. They couldn’t find the no. 4. One position they had to identify and they could not do that. Look at what happened to Ambati Rayudu – you picked him for two years. Two years, he batted at no. 4. And just before the World Cup, you needed a 3-D? Is that the kind of statement you want to see from a chairman selector that we need a 3-D cricketer?”
MSK Prasad replied: “Let me clarify. At the top, everyone was a batsman – Shikhar, Rohit, Virat. There was nobody who could bowl. And someone like Vijay Shankar, who bats at the top order, could have been helpful with the ball in English conditions.”
Krishnamachari Srikanth, who was also part of the panel, chipped in at this stage, bringing up the claim of MSK Prasad not having enough international cricket (6 Tests) himself. Sunil Gavaskar, saying the selection committee did not have enough experience, had earlier said the MSK Prasad-led committee was a ‘lame duck’.
Srikanth said, “Not supporting Gautam or belittling you MSK, but there is a huge difference between international cricket and domestic cricket.”
“I agree with Chika that there is a difference but you also have to understand that experience cannot be the only parameter all the time. You may miss out on players in the process,” said Prasad, who has been replaced by former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi as the new chairman of selectors.
“Your chairman of selectors needs to be an experienced cricketer, who has played enough international cricket, who has seen the ups and downs of international cricket. The more you play, the better you understand players,” Gambhir added.
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