Dilip Vengsarkar, the former India skipper and the chairman of selectors, has backed the national selectors’ decision to give past performances and experience the priority over the performance of players in the ongoing Indian Premier League while announcing the 15-man squad for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy.
After much drama surrounding the BCCI-ICC stand-off and the subsequent talks of India pulling out of the Champions trophy, the MSK Prasad-led panel, on Monday (May 8), played safe, as they announced the squad without spraining any big surprise.
A few names, who have been performing well in the IPL, were tipped by many to get included in the squad for the eight-team tournament. And two of them were the in-form batsmen Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir.
Both the batsmen have been scoring heavily in the ongoing season but the selectors have pinned their hopes on the batsmen who have been a regular part of the team from the last few months or so.
There were speculations that Gambhir might get a recall from the team after KL Rahul was ruled out with a shoulder injury. However, the selectors went for the tried and tested pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan while Ajinkya Rahane has been picked as the backup opener.
On the other hand, the likes of MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav have been given the responsibility of the middle-order.
The selectors might have to face the flak from the fans for ignoring the in-form players but Vengsarkar has completely backed them by saying that one cannot select a team for ODIs by considering a player’s performance in T20 cricket.
“If you look at Gambhir and Raina they have got runs in IPL. But I don’t know about their 50 overs form. Besides you can only pick 15 players,” Vengsarkar told India Today.
Speaking about Rishabh Pant, who had enjoyed a brilliant Ranji season, scoring over 900 runs, Vengsarkar said: “In case of Rishabh Pant, I haven’t seen him bat in person. But T20 and longer formats are different. In ODI cricket, there are factors like ability to play the short ball to look also. So one has to wait and see.”
The former player did not sound worried over some of India’s key players’ poor form. The likes of Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh have not looked at their best in the tournament but Vengsarkar has backed them to get back to best in the 50-over cricket.
“It does not worry me. IPL is a different format where you have to attack from the beginning. In 50 overs you have more time to settle down for longer innings. They will have enough time to get into the groove,” he opined.
He also said that picking an extra bowler in the seaming friendly conditions would have been a better option than selecting Ajinkya Rahane and Manish Pandey as a reserve opener and middle order batsman, respectively.
“I could have picked another extra bowler in place of two batting reserves. I can’t name one now,” he said.
He tipped Hardik Pandya to do well in the eight-team tournament which begins on June 1 in England.
“I am glad Pandya has been chosen. Because he could be very useful in English conditions in June,” he said.
Vengsarkar further added that the Men in Blue have a very good chance of defending the trophy. India will begin their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 4.