“How many of us believe this fact that MSD is still the best wicketkeeper in the world? We still believe he is still the best wicketkeeper. We are only focusing on his batting form” Prasad said. Adding to that, Prasad also emphasised the confidence MSD will put forth in this young team led by Virat Kohli especially for this imminent championship. “He is an invaluable asset to this team when it comes to crunch situations. (On) his inputs, he has got one of the best brains and he is the best person to guide Virat.”
“Not many people realise that in the last 10 to 15 years that he has been playing for the country, he has never had a bad day with the wicketkeeping gloves. We (the country) always treat him more like a batsman, but the phenomenal stuff that he does behind the wicket, not many people appreciate it. According to me, he is still the best wicketkeeper in the world,” Prasad explicitly mentioned in order to reciprocate to the uncertainty raised by people whether Dhoni’s batting form had been taken to consideration as a major part while discussions are being made by selection committee in this regard.
Dhoni has been patchy with his bat in this ongoing IPL edition. By far playing 12 matches he only upstaged to seal 235 runs in his bag which only include a match-winning knock of 61 not out for Rising Pune Supergiant. Apart from the issue of MSD’s downturn with bat, people do find themselves lingering on former captain’s batting position in Indian team. Under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, MSD was promoted to No. 5 in the batting order. In reciprocal to the question thrown by people in the same regard Prasad said,“That is up to the combination and let the team management decide that.”
The bunch of youngsters who have been phenomenal with their batting exhibition in this season of IPL were also seen left out from the 15-man squad for this approaching championship. “We considered Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik and Shardul Thakur. They are in our standby list for the Champions Trophy. We discussed Kuldeep. He narrowly missed out, but has a big role to play in future. Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya are youngsters we’ve been grooming. We’re extremely pleased with Rishabh and will groom him too,” added Prasad in response to the above raised matter.
In the same matter he also assured that the Indian youngsters are on their radar. “IPL is a very, very glamorous tournament. It is our premier domestic tournament and best tournament in the world. There are no two ways about it. When we consider for a 50-over tournament, we have to see other aspects as well. We have to see all-round capabilities as well. Yes, we are really happy that some of the boys like (Rahul) Tripathi, Basil Thampi and the way they are shaping up (sic). It is a wonderful platform and from here we will keep them under our radar and we will groom them,” added Prasad.
While inquired about R Ashwin’s limited overs form where he has often struggled to finish his quota of overs, Prasad revealed,“It is not that Ashwin is out of form (and) because of the form of Ashwin we considered Kuldeep. It is because of the qualities of Kuldeep that we have considered him (in the past). This is the way we were actually preparing him (Ashwin) for the Champions Trophy and some of those senior cricketers.”
Even when asked whether Kohli had ever insisted on having an extra batsman or spinner, Prasad added “It is a combination of all of them and not just what one person thinks. There are three selectors also working on it. We definitely take the suggestions, but it is the selectors who take the final call,”