As the T20 World Cup 2021 is to be held in UAE and Oman right around the corner, the former chairman of selectors MSK Prasad feels Team India is lacking a pacer going in the ICC mega event and also expressed his concerns about all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
“It is a decent squad but I feel that they are one fast bowler short actually …because we are playing majority of the matches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, so maybe one more fast bowler could have been handy,” Prasad told PTI in an interview.
“Had we played more matches in Sharjah, this was okay, but one fast bowler could have (been there) and more important with Hardik, not bowling, I think it is a little cause of concern,” he added.
The tracks at Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been providing some assistance for pacers, with only Sharjah wicket helping the spinners, which is evident from the IPL 2021 matches there.
Thus, the former India cricketer Prasad talked about Pandya not bowling for Mumbai Indians (MI) even in the UAE-leg of IPL 2021 with the franchise not pushing him hard considering his importance to the Indian team.
“See, Hardik has been picked as an all-rounder, not as a batsman, he has seen an all-rounder, who will add that what you call balance to the side, (it is) a little surprising that, or I don’t know whether he is being instructed, not to bowl or he is being preserved to bowl only in the World Cup,” MSK Prasad said.
“We don’t exactly know, but in an ideal scenario, Hardik has been picked as an all-rounder, I would love to see him bowling.
I don’t know what exactly is the thought process because selectors must be knowing it, or the Board must be knowing it, but Hardik, if he doesn’t bowl then there will be little, I mean, the balance of the side will get a little affected,” he added.
The former chairman of selectors had his say on Virat Kohli stepping down as a T20 skipper after the World Cup.
“He has taken the strain of captaincy across all formats, which is clearly visible right now on his individual performances. So, I think (it) must be the right decision to take. We want Virat, a man who can get 70 centuries in a decade’s span, we would want to see the same Virat. If the T20 captaincy is affecting the batting, then it is the right decision to take,” the ex-India cricketer said.
After BCCI announced the squad for the upcoming ICC mega event in the middle east, a lot of fans and pundits were surprised to see leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal missing from this group. MSK Prasad was one of them as he believed Chahal’s recent form might be the reason for his exclusion.
“Instead of talking about why he (Chahal) has not been included, instead of expressing our opinion, I would definitely say that why he’s been excluded. Probably the selectors would have gone with his form in the mind, unfortunately, he was not among the wickets in the last few months,” the 46-year-old said.
“They would have seen that form and now that he has regained that, it’s a tricky situation right now, but Chahal has been our premier T20 bowler, he is the highest wicket-taker for India in the T20 format,” MSK Prasad concluded.
The 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup gets underway from October 17 in the UAE and Oman with Team India playing their first match against Pakistan on 24 October (Sunday) in Dubai.