BCCI’s senior selection committee chairman MSK Prasad was a busy man answering many questions during the press conference called for the announcement of the Team India squads for the West Indies tour. After the squads were announced, the queries shifted towards World Cup and the hottest topic was of replacement players chosen in the tournament.
MSK Prasad maintained that none of the selection committee members spoke to the press during a mega-event like the World Cup and that led to confusion surrounding the replacements. He added that Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) missed putting a release on the website regarding the replacements.
The first replacement was in form of Rishabh Pant, who came in for Shikhar Dhawan, who had fractured his thumb during the Australia match and was ruled out of the tournament. KL Rahul, who batted at No. 4 in the first 2 matches, was promoted to open the batting and Vijay Shankar was slotted in at No. 4.
The second replacement came in form of Mayank Agarwal, as Shankar’s toe was injured badly enough by a Bumrah yorker in a net session and he too was sent back for rehabilitation. This led to Pant coming in at the no.4 position in the batting lineup for the remainder of games.
"With regards to the selection, there is a policy that in between the series or mega-events like the World Cup, I don't take press conferences which have led to a lot of speculation," MSK Prasad said on Sunday.
He added: "When Shikhar Dhawan was injured, we already had a reserve opener in KL Rahul. At that juncture, we didn't have a left-hander at the top. The team management requested for a lefthander. We had no other choice other than Rishabh Pant. We knew his capability. That's the reason why we had to bring in a left-hander.”
"Subsequently, when Vijay Shankar was injured, why an opener was brought in... that's the confusion. IN the game against England, KL Rahul fell on his back and he didn't take the field. There was so much of worry factor. At that juncture, a mail was written that we need a back-up opener. We looked at some of the openers. Some were not in form and some were injured. That's when we went to Mayank Agarwal," Prasad further said.
The India squads for West Indies tour sees Virat Kohli leading the team in all three formats. Wriddhiman Saha came back into the Test squad, while Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer came back into the limited-overs squad. Jasprit Bumrah, MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya are unavailable for limited-overs series.
(India Today inputs)