Prasad, who represented India in 6 Tests and 17 ODIs, also said India will be missing their T20I star spinner Yuzvendra Chahal who has not been considered for the mega tournament. Chahal, who is India’s highest wicket-taker (63 wickets in 49 matches) in the shortest format of the game, has not been picked for the competition in the squad that has been announced. Some changes might still be on the cards, with the deadline for the squads to be submitted to the ICC being October 15.
The T20 World Cup gets underway from October 17 in the UAE and Oman and India will kick off their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on October 24. The Super 12s round begins from October 23.
TimesofIndia.com caught up with MSK Prasad to talk about team selection, Chahal and Shikhar Dhawan’s omission, the Ashwin-Jadeja pair coming together again in limited overs cricket, Dhoni the mentor, and much more.
Your take on India’s World T20 squad that has been announced…
Considering the number of matches we are going to play in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, I feel that we are one fast bowler short. These pitches are more conducive to fast bowling than spinners. Having five spinners into the squad is little on a higher side. You hardly play one or two spinners on these tracks. I feel that one more seamer should have been there in the squad. Because Hardik Pandya is also not bowling off late in the IPL games.
Rahul Chahar’s inclusion over Yuzvendra Chahal raised many eyebrows. Your take on that…
Yes, it is a little unfortunate that Chahal is missing in this T20 squad. At the time of selection, the selectors preferred form over selection. (Rahul) Chahar was considered over Chahal because of his form. There is no doubt that Chahal is one of our premier T20 bowlers and has taken more wickets than anyone else in the T20I format. It is really unfortunate that he is missing out on the World Cup squad. We will definitely miss the services of Chahal.
Rahul Chahar and Yuzvendra Chahal (Photo credit: BCCI)
Not just Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan’s omission also became a talking point…
I don’t know the reasons (for that) well. I can’t say that he was rested. But he is a very good player in ICC tournaments. He has scored a good amount of runs in ICC events. He has always been phenomenal. If you ask me one person for whom I feel (bad) is Shikhar Dhawan. It is a little unfortunate that Shikhar misses out because the formidable pair he has formed with Rohit Sharma, especially in ICC tournaments, has been phenomenal.
The pair of Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin is back in limited overs cricket. Ashwin hasn’t played limited-overs cricket for a long time. His experience should benefit the Indian team in the T20 WC…
Washington Sundar was preferred as a first-choice off-spinner in T20 cricket for the last 2-3 years. And he was groomed for that. He was being prepared for that slot. Now that he is not there, the selectors have fallen back on experience. Ashwin has been doing really well in the last two seasons of IPL. This was the top reason that he managed to convince the selectors. Ashwin can come in handy against left-handers.
File pic: Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin (AFP Photo)
MS Dhoni has been appointed as mentor of the Indian team for the T20 World Cup. In your opinion, how will the team benefit from Dhoni?
They (BCCI) have done a good job. I respect the decision of selectors, BCCI management, and the Indian team. This is a giant and excellent step making Dhoni the mentor of the Indian team. It was a collective decision to have MSD as a mentor. Someone who has played more than 200 IPL games, someone who led India to the 2007 World T20 glory, someone who guided India to the 2011 World Cup win, so it’s a brilliant decision. I respect this decision and am very happy about it. They couldn’t have chosen a better person as a mentor than Dhoni.
MS Dhoni, Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli (AFP Photo)
It’s a wonderful decision taken by the BCCI. Virat always had good chemistry with Dhoni and Ravi (Shastri). It’s going to be a wonderful tournament for Virat with Dhoni and Shastri together. Virat has played a lot of cricket under MSD. He has been doing a wonderful job with Shastri as the coach. Reaching the World Test Championship final and beating Australia in Australia twice, the Indian team has done things wonderfully under Ravi’s coaching and Virat’s captaincy. They (Indian team) have dominated cricket. Dhoni is a mastermind and he will strengthen the Indian team. His addition as mentor will add value to the team and give a boost to captain Virat.
MS Dhoni’s support will also be vital for Virat Kohli who is chasing his maiden ICC trophy as captain…
What happens behind the doors is very very important. The strategy, homework, discussions, and planning will be done the way classwork is done. So, someone like MSD being part of that homework and strategy will surely add value and strengthen the team to a greater extent. As I said he is a mastermind. He and Virat will do wonders for India in the World T20.
MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli (BCCI Photo)
Dhoni has handled plenty of such situations and plenty of such games in his career, not only for the country but for CSK too. More importantly, Virat has got such respect for MSD. He adores him. Virat has got good chemistry with Ravi and MSD, so things are looking wonderful and well in place. Ravi, Virat, and MSD will be a good combination for the World T20.
India will kick off their campaign vs Pakistan. That of course will be a marquee clash, but overall how would you rate India’s title chances in the T20 World Cup this time?
It all depends on the playing eleven they will pick for the matches. It’s really a good thing that both SKY (Suryakumar Yadav) and Ishan Kishan are back in form. It is a good sign for us. We were concerned about the form of these players. Bhuvi also bowled well in the last couple of games in the IPL. I am sure India are going to do well.
Ravi Shastri’s tenure as Head coach will come to an end after the T20 World Cup. Your take on the possibility of MS Dhoni being a future India coach…
I would definitely feel that going forward it should be Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni. Rahul more as a coach and MS as a mentor. Dhoni and Rahul in the Indian team will be a fantastic thing to watch out for post-Ravi Shastri’s era.