Prasad also praised the BCCI in making selectors a part of the group selecting the playing XI for Team India. File Photo (PTI)
Prasad also praised the BCCI in making selectors a part of the group selecting the playing XI for Team India. File Photo (PTI)

Chairman of the national selection committee for Team India, MSK Prasad recently underlined the importance of the ever-debated tournament Indian Premier League (IPL). While talking to the Indian Express, the selection committee chief said that his panel predominantly looks at how players adapt from performing in the cash rich league and when they return to First-Class cricket. What we look for in the IPL is how players adapt from performing there and then when they play domestic cricket. Hardik Pandya has adapted wonderfully. Now Parthiv [Patel]. Jasprit Bumrah, nobody knew about him. And suddenly he s in India colours and going about his work like he belongs to the big league, said Prasad while emphasising on the importance of IPL as a yardstick.

He went to praise the India A tours and the role of legendary batsman Rahul Dravid in the same breath, saying, Another crucial factor are the India A tours, especially now with Rahul Dravid at the helm. The board has done a fantastic job by roping him in. That is the level where the seed is planted in a player s mind, which they will carry for the rest of their career. I saw Rahul in action live in Australia, and the way he works and communicates with each player is phenomenal. So communication is at an all-time high with Indian cricket, be it with Virat [Kohli] and the team management, or Rahul and the India A players, or the selection committee and the team management.

Prasad also praised the board in making selectors a part of the group selecting the playing XI for Team India. The beautiful thing is that the selectors are finally part of the group selecting the playing XI. Otherwise we select one team and then have no say. So the board has done a good job. That way it is really helping the boys. More importantly, [MS] Dhoni, Virat and Anil [Kumble] understand each other, and we gel much better now that we are all sitting together while picking the squad as well as the playing XI, said Prasad.

With almost entire part of the current season being played at home, there is a sense that it has been easy going for the new selection panel. Prasad, on this, comments that the committee is ready for the challenges that will come with the overseas trips. We are looking ahead already. We are making our backup plans. Since we are only playing in India for now, we are relatively relaxed but we are aware of the challenges that lie abroad, and we have already identified players who will serve us well in foreign climes. We are playing only three ODIs before the Champions Trophy. But we are not concerned at all. Because the boys will have 14-15 IPL games each before the tournament. I feel IPL is as good as the Champions Trophy in terms of quality, looking at the kind of players who play, Prasad added.

On comparisons with the former committees, with respect to the relatively lower experience this committee has, Prasad had this to say: To begin with, we were disturbed by that [lightweight] tag. We are humans at the end of the day. But let me tell you, lightweight is more comfortable but still powerful (laughs). By the end of our tenures, we will definitely leave a mark for others to emulate. I assure you. I do agree that we might not have played as much as some other committees, but at the end of the day, what matters is honesty, integrity. What if somebody who s played more than 100 Tests is not able to deliver? What if his integrity is questioned? It s not about how much you ve played, it s about what you give back to the game. How honest and sincere are you? Can you develop a good bench-strength and set good protocols in place? That is what is more important, said the eloquent chairman.

He had words reserved for the young selection panel. He and his team may have missed international cricket big time, but they have set their sights on selecting players ‘who will go on to have a fantastic international career.’ Something that Prasad and his boys missed having.