Having seen questions raised over players' preparation and workload pre and post series in England, chief selector MSK Prasad has said that with the tour of Australia less than a couple of months away from now, key members of the Indian Cricket Team will be rested to keep them fresh for the sternest challenge.
Assessing the Virat Kohli led team's 4-1 defeat in England, Prasad talked about the issues to work on and plans going forward, in a chat with Times of India.
When asked whether there has been a big communication gap on injury management and prevention between the team management and the selectors, he said, "I totally disagree. We have a clear plan with regard to injury prevention and workload management. The outstanding performance of our fast bowlers in South Africa and England is a testimony to our workload management program." and added, "The basic fitness parameters fixed by us has raised our fitness standards. If our boys can fight till the last session of the 83rd day of the England tour with the same intensity that they fought on the first day of the tour, it speaks volumes about our fitness standards and the ability to fight."
This is where he also cleared, "In the last Indian bowling session in the fifth Test, our bowlers were bowling at speeds of 90 miles per hour. As part of this injury prevention process and workload management process," and stated, "we have rested Virat Kohli for the Asia Cup and also intend to rest a few more players in the upcoming home series before the Australia tour."
Prasad also answered questions on India's overall batting failures in England and specifically on important positions like the openers, the no.3 and no.5 batsmen, said, "When we pick players for particular slots, they should be given enough opportunities before we move on and look at youngsters. Yes, our openers could have done better."
"Having said that, the England openers also failed miserably. The conditions were tough and the openers of both the teams failed. Over the last few years, Pujara and Rahane have done well in those No. 3 & No. 5 slots." he added, "They have enough experience behind them to be the mainstay of our middle order. They did well here too but they could have been a bit more consistent."
With an overall view of the series, which is now a perfectly missed opportunity for Indian Cricket, in mind, Prasad feels, "It was so close, yet so far. The results don't reveal how intensely this series was fought but we all know the same results could have been in our favour too. We had our moments in the series which we should have encashed on."
In conclusion, he praised the fast bowling unit and said, "There are positives. I feel our fast bowling unit has done a fantastic job. Picking 60-plus wickets in five Tests was testimony to their skill-set and a result of the fitness regimens and workload management we are following."
"I am extremely happy the way we fielded and took catches. But batting as a unit has to come to the fore." he signed off.