“I know How Much They Respect Me:” MSK Prasad in MS Dhoni & Virat Kohli

Team India’s chief selector MSK Prasad, has been under immense scrutiny off late regarding various issues in the recent past regarding the team selection.

He was criticised for not the failure of selection of a No.4 batsman during the World Cup earlier this year, which many believed was one of the reasons for the semi-final defeat.

However, Prasad, in an interview with Mumbai Mirror, did not feel the same with respect to India’s No.4 batsmen.

“Tell me, did we have a problem till the semi-final with No. 4?”, he said. “We went into the World Cup with Shikhar Dhawan opening and KL Rahul at No. 4. They did the job until unfortunately Dhawan got injured and that is when we flew in Rishabh Pant. I don’t think we lost because of the No. 4 issue.”

During Prasad’s three years as a selector, India have managed to produce and nurturegood young talent, and have boasted of an envious bench strength. He explained the process of grooming youngsters and making them better.

“Myself, the India A management and the Indian management sit down and discuss the progress of a player,” Prasad said. “We look at the requirements of the senior team and groom a player based on that.

“Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal are a few examples. They knew which series they may be needed for, which is why they weren’t overawed by the bigger stage. The ease with which Shaw got a ton on debut, ease with which Agarwal made 75 on debut or the ease with which [Hanuma] Vihari batted in England. Barring one or two, whichever youngster has got in has been backed. For example, Shreyas Iyer. He didn’t have the best of A tours, but we kept backing him and now you see the results.

Mayank Agarwal

“In the spin department, we have [R] Ashwin, [Ravindra] Jadeja and Kuldeep [Yadav]. There’s [Shahbaz] Nadeem waiting outside with lots of wickets, we have Axar and [K] Gowtham too. Similarly, if we want openers, apart from our regulars, we have Shaw. KL has started to do well again. Then there are Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran. So we have about seven openers now.”

Prasad also conceded that, he had a much more difficult period when he was working with the Andhra Cricket Association before becoming India’s selector. He was the director of cricket at the Andhra Cricket Association, where according to him, the stress he had to go through were much more than what he has been going through now, which made it easier for him to work with the national team.

“I am a management student and at Andhra Cricket Association, I dealt with much bigger issues than here,” he said. “We built Andhra association from scratch where people were not motivated to work. When Anurag Thakur came to Andhra in 2015, he called it ‘Adarsh Cricket Association’. BCCI is an evolved place, you have mature people. I don’t think I had a tough time here because I had gone through a lot of stress working in Andhra.

He has now worked with two captains- MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. Prasad said that he has always been able to maintain a good relationship with them and they had always respected him.

“During this tenure, I used to take advice from legendary cricketers which helped. My relationship with MSD (MS Dhoni) and [Virat] Kohli is intact. People might write anything but when I speak to them, I know how much they respect me.”

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Published by
Saketh Kandadai