Ever since its advent in 2008, the Indian Premier League is seen by the majority as a breeding ground for emerging Indian talents. The likes of Ambati Rayudu, Sanju Samson, Yusuf Pathan, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah had caught the attention after performing in this tournament, not to forget they also got a call from the Indian team for their good performance in India’s premier T20 tournament.
And just like the past editions, the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League has also sprung up some relatively unknown names who have grabbed the limelight with their superlative performance.
Nitish Rana, a player who was dropped by Delhi for the Ranji Trophy, has been one of the best finds of the season. One of the most consistent batsmen for Mumbai Indians this season, Rana has made an impressive 266 runs in eight outings at an average of 38 and a strike-rate of 135.
But unlike the previous seasons when players received their maiden India call due to their performance in the league, there is no guarantee that he will get a national call-up even if he manages to win the Orange Cap. And the reason behind it is that the national selectors have decided to give the ongoing season of the IPL a miss.
Instead, the MSK Prasad-led panel is relying on India’s premier domestic tournaments to select the squad.
Well, the decision to give the domestic tournaments more priority is worthy of a praise but snubbing the IPL for it is anything but bizarre. Arguably the best T20 tournament in the world, the IPL gives the youngsters a chance to rub their shoulders with some of the biggest names in world cricket which probably get them game-ready to perform at the highest stage of the without much trouble.
But then again, selecting a team for an important tournament like the ICC Champions Trophy on the basis of a T20 game that too in favourable conditions might backfire and the very reason has made some former players to support the selectors’ decision.
As quoted in Livemint, former chief selector Kiran More said:
“The Champions Trophy (50 overs a side) is a different ball game in England. You need experienced players for that.”
“When you are picking a T20 team, then (giving weightage to) IPL performance is fine. If I have to pick just a T20 team, then I can think of Rana, but certainly not for ODIs (One Day Internationals). I will see what he has done in the Vijay Hazare tournament,” said Syed Saba Karim, a former India selector.
“Even Pant will get a look only if (M.S.) Dhoni is injured. Similarly, someone like Krunal Pandya will be seriously considered if (Ravindra) Jadeja is unfit. However, if (Virat) Kohli gets injured, I won’t consider Rana because he hasn’t done anything of note in domestic cricket, unlike a Pant or Pandya,” added Karim.
Well, for the time being, one cannot justify how right are the selectors to ignore the IPL but their work so far has been commendable. Since their appointment last year, the selectors have made some inspired calls like including Jayant Yadav or Karun Nair in the Test team on the basis of first-class performance and the team has reaped the rewards for it.
Team India is not only ruling the Test cricket but also boasts of a strong bench strength.
Moreover, the example of Manpreet Singh Goni, who played just two ODIs, is enough to prove that selecting a player just on the basis of his performance in the IPL can go horribly wrong.