Pallekele : Speculations may be rife that Yuvraj Singh’s career is nearing the end but chief selector MSK Prasad has clarified that national team’s door is still open for the senior cricketer.
The national selectors yesterday ignored 36-year-old Yuvraj for the ODI series in Sri Lanka, a tough but fair call, indicating their mindset going into the 2019 World Cup in England. The selectors’ decision has created murmurs that Yuvraj may not be seen again in a blue jersey.
“Yuvraj has been rested,” said Prasad indicating that Yuvraj is still in the mix.
“Doors are never closed on anybody. Everybody has got a right to play cricket. It’s their passion. They are chasing their passion. In terms of selection, we try to select the best possible team.
“Discussions happen about everybody. It is not just MS Dhoni (or anybody else). When we pick, when we talk about combinations, we talk about everybody,” he said.
Citing tennis legend Andre Agassi’s example, whose career literally took off after 30, Prasad said if Yuvraj keeps on delivering he has every chance of making it to the team despite age and fitness not being on his side.
“Whenever a player keeps ageing, for example, I was just reading Agassi’s book, Open, his life actually started after 30 years. Till then he won two or three titles. His actual life started after that.
“He lived with media pressure, ‘When are you going to retire?’ But he played till 36 and he won so many Grand Slams. So you never know,” he said.
“We don’t say it is an automatic thing but we are all stakeholders. We all want the Indian team to do well. If he is delivering, why not? If he is not, we will have to look at alternatives,” Prasad added. The chief selector also talked about youngsters’ performances in ‘A’ tours, whilst commending the job done by India ‘A’ coach Rahul Dravid in preparing their step up to the senior team.
“To be precise we need to give due recognition to performance at domestic level and also to the ‘A’ tours. That is the very purpose of having domestic and ‘A’ tours also,” Prasad said.
“At some point of time we have to give opportunities for those who have done well otherwise there is no point in having such tours. Our real stuff comes out while picking India ‘A’ teams.
“We picked the team to Australia and they won the triangular series there. We picked an ‘A’ team for South Africa, they won the triangular series some days ago.
“That gives you more satisfaction because at the end of the day those are the guys who will come to the national side. Personally, joy has no limit when we saw in a year’s time the way Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya had shaped up,” said Prasad.
Praising Dravid for nurturing young talents, Prasad said Indian cricket couldn’t have asked for a better mentor than the former captain.
“We pick the best possible team but it is being nurtured very well by Rahul Dravid. I think India is very blessed to have Dravid at ‘A’ level. He is giving finished products to the senior team,” he said.
“Any player who is coming here is straightaway getting into the mould and is able to adjust. Whole credit goes to BCCI for having appointed Dravid and also Dravid for having accepted it.
“The amount of time he spends on each player is not like any other net session. Round the day he will be throwing down. I am surprised. And he carried everything (equipment) by himself. He is a wonderful person to have at A level,” Prasad added.