Buoyed with good results in South Africa, MSK Prasad, the chairman of national selection committee, is confident of the Virat Kohli-led team doing well in the England and Australia series.
“This is a best balanced side. The results in South Africa might have been 2-1 in our favour in Test cricket. It is a confident lot. We are number one in Test cricket and moving towards number one in ODI. Since we are playing less in T20, we are in third spot. I’m very confident of good series against England and Australia,’’ he said while talking to N Jagannath Das
On home work while preparing a team
I being a student of management, I plan well in advance. For this South African tour, we have been planning for the past six months. Now with English tour, we have already started planning for the series. The planning has made us build a strong team. We also have good relations with coach (Ravi Shastri) and captain (Virat Kohli). Everything has fallen in one place. There are no hitches and hindrances. That is why it makes our job very easy.
On tough decisions like dropping Ashwin and Jadeja from ODI side
Coming to Ashwin and Jadeja, I still feel they are in the race. For sure they are not restricted to Test cricket only. The whole idea to bring in Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal ahead of Jadeja and Ashwin was to increase the bench strength in the spin department. This is what we did with batting and pace bowling. In that process, both Kuldeep and Chahal have been given opportunity. They have proved us right and the best part with every match, they are improving. More importantly, the results are there to show. The entire management has the confidence that they have two wicket-taking bowlers which is a very good sign.
On pace bowling
It is tough and hard to select the fast bowlers. For instance, in South Africa in the second Test, Bhuvi was dropped and Ishant played. It is more of horses for courses when we pick a side. It all depends on the conditions and the opposition. We look for an ideal combination. It is not for the first time it happened to Bhuvi. It even happened in Kolkata, he ended up taking good number of wickets and next match he sat out.
On England tour
After the completion of Test series in South Africa, we have already set our sights on English tour. The beauty of the South African series was the strong character shown by the Indian team, particularly in the third Test on a tough, dangerous and hard wicket at Johannesburg. The series also showed what are real strengths and shortcomings. We have discussed on that and we are ready for the two tough tours in England and Australia from preparation point of view to team planning. We will field the best possible team based on our strength. In England, we are starting with ODIs and T20. By that the Test Series start, it will be July. So, I think we play on better wickets. By then we will adjust by then ahead of Test crickets
On Chahal, Kuldeep in contentions for Test
There will always be a temptation but we should not be carried away about what we see. The same Jadeja and Ashwin are number one and two in the world in Test cricket rankings. But having said these boys (Kuldeep and Chahal) are doing well, we have to discuss about the permutation and combination.
(Wridhiman) Saha is rated number one in Test cricket today. We have Parthiv, Dinesh Karthik as back-ups. But we do have Rishab Pant, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat. They are all doing well in domestic cricket. We have to see who fits in the bill.
On Kuldeep and Chahal success
We had been grooming Chahal for the last three years. Chahal had performed well in IPL under Virat (Kohli) in the same franchise. That had given him the confidence. Coming to Kuldeep, he is special talent, right from junior cricket, he looked something different. He is bound to make a mark in international cricket. The investment in him has proved right.
On middle order
We have Pujaras and Ajinkyas. We have quite a few youngsters have been doing well. We have to see they do in the A series. One of the good things of A series, it unearths players. There is huge difference between under-19 and first class cricket. In order to bridge the gap, the A series has come up and this has been supply line for the Indian team. A legendary like Rahul Dravid has been an inspiring figure to these young players.