Pant is cham­pion player in mak­ing, says Prasad

The Hitavada - - SPORTS -

that se­lec­tion com­mit­tee is vin­di­cated,” the for­mer In­dia keeper stated.

The head of se­lec­tion com­mit­tee is equally ex­cited about young Shub­man Gill as he feels that the enor­mously tal­ented Pun­jab bats­man is now ready for in­ter­na­tional cricket.

“Shub­man is com­fort­able both open­ing the in­nings as well as play­ing in the mid­dle-order. For New Zealand se­ries, we are look­ing at him as the re­serve opener be­hind Shikhar (Dhawan) and Ro­hit (Sharma). I won’t com­ment if he will make it to World Cup but he was phe­nom­e­nal as an opener for In­dia A in New Zealand.

“We have dis­cussed with Rahul (Dravid), that Shub­man is ready for in­ter­na­tional cricket. The best part is the clutch of A tours which has made all these play­ers bat­tle ready for the big­gest chal­lenge,” the elo­quent Prasad said.

The likes of Hanuma Vi­hari, Mayank Agar­wal, Prithvi Shaw, Khaleel Ahmed have all been im­pres­sive in in­ter­na­tional cricket and that makes Prasad very happy. “I reg­u­larly dis­cuss the progress of the play­ers with Ravi and Rahul. Have a look at how we have planned a player’s pro­gres­sion from Ranji Tro­phy, A team to se­nior team. Look at Hanuma Vi­hari and Mayank Agar­wal. They don’t look in­tim­i­dated when thrown into the deep end of the pool,” said Prasad.

For him and his col­leagues, one of the big­gest plus points has been tak­ing the risk of un­leash­ing two wrist spin­ners in Kuldeep Ya­dav and Yuzven­dra Cha­hal in the ODI set-up, re­plac­ing Ravichan­dran Ash­win and Ravin­dra Jadeja.

“We re­ceived flak when we had re­placed world’s No 1 and 2 spin­ner (as per ICC Rank­ings) with two young wrist spin­ners. One and half years down the line, they (Kuldeep and Cha­hal) have had con­tri­bu­tion in at least 70 per­cent of In­dia’s lim­ited overs wins,” the sat­is­fac­tion was ev­i­dent in his voice.

While Kuldeep is now firmly in the Test team mix af­ter his fivewicket haul in Syd­ney but Prasad reck­ons that he still has “some way to go” as Ash­win and Jadeja are still the coun­try’s pre­mier spin­ners in the long­est for­mat.

The chair­man of se­lec­tors also spoke about how they had to go against the pop­u­lar sen­ti­ment when they rested Jasprit Bum­rah for the two Tests against the West In­dies. “Trust me, had Jasprit played those two Tests against West In­dies, he wouldn’t have played all four Test against Aus­tralia. The sup­port staff has re­ally mon­i­tored him well. He is now fit­ter and stronger and with Bharath Arun con­tin­u­ously work­ing with him, he has im­proved as a bowler,” Prasad was all praise for him.

“But a lot of credit should go to Jasprit be­cause Arun gave him a plan but it was up to him to make the ef­fort to im­ple­ment the plan. He has re­ally worked hard. When we first picked him, so many were scep­ti­cal whether it was pru­dent to pick a white ball spe­cial­ist but at the end of the year, we can all see the re­sults.”

Mo­hammed Shami’s peak fit­ness dur­ing the sea­son and his abil­ity to bowl at the same speed dur­ing third and fourth spell could be at­trib­uted to the Ben­gal speed­ster’s new-found love for fol­low­ing fit­ness reg­i­men.

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