Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad has given a green light to Mumbai’s Shreyas Iyer for the no.4 spot in the Indian limited-overs team. This problem has been plaguing the Indian cricket team since the start of the 2018 season and despite trying many players, none of them have managed to cement their spot.
On the other hand, Iyer made his India debut in November 2017 with a T20I against New Zealand and in the following month, played in his maiden ODI series, scoring back-to-back half-centuries in the home rubber against Sri Lanka.
"If you recall, we had inducted Shreyas Iyer (when Virat Kohli was rested) 18 months back into the ODI squad and he has done reasonably well. Unfortunately, we couldn't continue with him. Having said that, he has evolved as a player now and he can be the solution to our No 4 slot in both ODIs and T20s," Prasad told PTI.
Iyer kept churning out big runs in domestic cricket for Mumbai in every format and expressed disappointment for not getting picked for more chances. This time, however, he has been given a long run in the team with him being picked for both the T20Is and ODIs against West Indies.
Prasad, whose tenure is nearing its end, has expressed regret that Iyer was not in the scheme of things leading up to the 2019 World Cup. On the other hand, his selection panel is credited for making the Indian team a powerhouse in pace bowling with the addition of Jasprit Bumrah. But at the same time, they are criticized given that India didn’t win a single ICC event during his tenure.
Prasad said: "The primary duty of the selection committee is to identify the right talent, groom them through a systematic process, induct them at an appropriate time into the senior squad and trust them to deliver by backing them. Except for Bumrah, the other fast bowlers (Ishant, Umesh, Shami) had been in the circuit even before our committee took over. Only thing is that they all have combined well as a unit during our tenure...we have been instrumental in helping Bumrah to evolve into a top-class bowler across all formats.”
The 44-year-old former India wicketkeeper also mentioned about the batsmen who were given chances to shine, including asking Rohit to open the innings. "It was the collective opinion of both the selection committee and team the management. With the kind of form Rohit was in of late in white-ball cricket, we thought our Test team will immensely benefit if he can transform that form into red-ball cricket. Moreover, we had five Tests at home and it couldn't have been a better opportunity to play and cement his place at the top of the order,” said Prasad, who played six Tests and 17 ODIs for India in the 2000s.
He also stated the fact that the selection panel is very close to finalizing the squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia and said, "I think we are very close to finalizing the core team. Maybe a couple of slots is what we are looking for in the next few months in the bilateral series and also in IPL.”