Glad that 'tough decision' to back Kuldeep - Chahal over Ashwin - Jadeja paid off: BCCI chief selector Prasad
It wasn't long before Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja – central to India's success in Test cricket over the last couple of years – found themselves out of the limited overs squad as wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal took their place and shone with performances that made it increasingly difficult for the Test duo to mark a comeback in ODI or T20I cricket. BCCI selection committee chief MSK Prasad admitted that the decision to replace Ashwin-Jadeja with Kuldeep-Chahal was a tough one but is glad that it paid off.
Speaking about the wrist-spin duo's performance in South Africa so far, Prasad revealed that he wasn't surprised with the pair's success and always saw them as wicket-takers. "I wasn't surprised at all. I have always had the faith that both of them were wicket-takers. If you see in the last three games they have taken 21 wickets, which is incredible. I'm sure with the backing they get from the team management and the skipper, their confidence levels will keep going up with every game," Prasad, who is in Chennai to keep track of things in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, was quoted as saying by TOI.
Prasad then spoke about competition for places in the Indian team, highlighting the fact that Karun Nair, who has scored a triple hundred in Tests, is waiting for a spot in the team.
"We have 6-7 good quality pacers, a person who has scored a triple-hundred in Test (Karun Nair) is waiting in the wings. Similarly, we thought of increasing the spinners' base. Fundamentally, we started off with an idea to increase the variety in our spin department. And time and again they have proved us right," he added.
As far as India's spin combination for the 2019 World Cup is concerned, Prasad said that the team management hasn't decided on it yet as there are still 16 months to go.
"I still maintain the same thing that I have been saying every time. We have given opportunity to the youngsters. Whatever tournament comes up, the best possible combination will be taken into consideration. The next World Cup is 16 months away so who is going to play and who is not is too early to say," he added.
About the recently concluded Test series against South Africa, MSK said that the result could have gone either way as Indian bowlers too were able to bag 60 wickets over the course of 3 matches.
"This series could have gone either way. We have taken 60 wickets and that's a wonderful thing. There are quite a few things that we have learnt from SA tour in terms of how to approach an away series, the preparation part of it.
"In fact in their own den, we have bowled better than them except for the one spell (Vernon) Philander bowled in Cape Town. It's not only potential, but the toughness that our players have. We will definitely do well in both England and Australia. I am sure that no opposition will take us for granted. If they give seaming tracks, we know what we can do," he added.
Coming to the gruelling topic of Ajinkya Rahane vs Rohit Sharma in the playing XI, Prasad said that it is often easier to talk from outside but the team management ties to do what's best at that given point of time.
"It's easy to talk from outside. What is best for the team at that given point of time, that's what the team management decides on. May be at that point of time the team might have thought, going by form, going by the wicket and maybe going by the combination that we are looking at. The beauty of the team is that these boys are ready to sacrifice their places for the sake of the side," he added.
Towards the end, Prasad also hinted that some of the U-19 stars including Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi are under the spotlight of selectors and could well be considered for various India A tours in the near future.