Looking at just one or two places for WC: Prasad
On the sidelines of the Ranji Trophy final between Vidarbha and Saurashtra —which could well have been M.S.K. Prasad’s last Ranji game as a national selector — the chief of the panel opened up on the build-up to the World Cup.
Excerpts: Do you think there are any holes to be filled in the squad for the World Cup?
To begin with, we have so many options to choose from but [when] going to a mega event we have quite a few things to consider, like the experience part of it. Because this is a mega event, the players need that kind of a mindset. We had one or two places that we were looking at and we have got a good idea about it now. We still have five more ODIs against Australia. The New Zealand series has brought in a bit of change in dynamics, not a major one, so it’s just one or two places that we are looking at.
India head coach Ravi Shastri recently said Virat Kohli may bat at No. 4 in the World Cup considering the top-heavy batting line-up.
I think, end of the day, it is the team management which will be thinking on those lines. You never know, because… there’s some time to go for the event to begin. I am sure everybody in this team wants India to win the World Cup, so if that works out best for the team, why not!
Despite Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan being extremely consistent, how important is to to have a strong back-up opener?
Of course we need a strong back-up opener, no two ways about it, but who that opener is we will let you know at an appropriate time.
How much has the selection policy evolved in terms of coordination between team management and selectors?
The selection committee shares a good rapport with this team management. I am 100% sure of that. There were certain things that were sorted out and as per the Lodha recommendations, it’s very clear that the squad would be picked by the selectors and the playing XI by the team management. Having said that, from this Australia series, we all worked together and irrespective of what the recommendations are, we really gelled well.
How much did the reduction of the selection committee to three members for a year and half affect? How did you cope with it?
Physically, if we had two more, then we would have seen more talent. See, looking physically at a player and going by stats are completely different things altogether. At that juncture, we had to rely on [feedback from] match referees who have played more than 25 First Class matches. We had given additional responsibility to them because they are the ones who watch each and every match, so it would help. But it’s an added strength with these two [Gagan Khoda and Jatin Paranjpe] rejoining. It’s such a big country with so many teams that it’s always better to have a bigger squad — that’s five selectors.
Best slot: The team-management will decide Kohli’s batting order in the World Cup, says M.S.K. Prasad.