The national selectors announced the 15 member team to defend the Champions Trophy in England next month. Some exciting performances by young, promising cricketers in the ongoing IPL 2017 had fuelled assumption in sections that one of the newbies could be picked. However the MSK Prasad-led selection committee made it clear that IPL couldn’t be the premiere platform for selection in top-flight cricket.
In a departure from some of the selections made right after the IPL in the past few years, form and efficiency wasn’t judged on what the players have done in their franchise colours. Ajinkiya Rahane has been held on the team despite his non-performance in IPL. Pacer Mohammad Shami had given the chance by selectors to lead the attack despite having not played in ODIs since the 2015 World Cup. Ajinkiya Rahane and Manish Pandey will be the two reserved batsman which meant there was no place for left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
“We respect IPL but in the longer format, we have to also consider the English conditions that we will be playing in. Not just IPL, one needs to take into account the performance of last one year also for such a big tournament.” – MSK Prasad said while asserting that Rahane was supposed to be the back-up opener to Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma when asked about Gautam Gambhir and his prolific run in the IPL.
Contrary to what might have been thought, the process and the preparation for the Champions Trophy was put in place months in advance. “Ashwin was never severely injured. He needed rest and his franchise was magnanimous to allow that. We even sought rest for Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav.”- Prasad said.
As the debate over MS Dhoni gained steam. Prasad singled out the former Skipper’s wicket-keeping skills. “Not many people realise that in last 10-12 years Dhoni has never had a bad with his gloves. We always treat him as a batsman but not many people appreciate the phenomenal stuff he does behind the wickets. According to me he is still the best wicketkeeper in the world cricket. He is the best person to guide Virat Kohli. ”
Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit, Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami