MSK Prasad says that "they are ready to sacrifice their places"

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Supporting Kuldeep-Chahal was a tough decision, admits MSK Prasad

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SportsCafe Desk


MSK Prasad has claimed that the decision to back Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal over Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin was a tough move for the selectors but the duo proved them right. He has also added that the players are now ready to sacrifice their own places for good results.

There was a time and not long ago, the Indian team set-up was incomplete without the presence of Jadeja and Ashwin in the team in all three formats of the game. However, after the Champions Trophy final debacle, the team management decided to jettison them from the abridged version of the game and put their trust on the wrist-spinning duo of Kuldeep and Chahal. The young duo, who started their career by playing 20-20 version of the game in the IPL, rose to the occasion and made sure that the senior pairs' absence was not felt at all. The duo have put forward a terrific performance in the ongoing six-match ODI series against South Africa as well and shared 21 wickets of the total 28 wickets at an unbelievable average of 9.05. Prasad stated that he was not at all surprised with the performance on the South African soil and added that their belief vindicated to produce results in the overseas conditions. 

"I wasn't surprised at all. I have always had the faith that both of them were wicket-takers. If you see in the last three games they have taken 21 wickets, which is incredible. I'm sure with the backing they get from the team management and the skipper, their confidence levels will keep going up with every game," Prasad told TOI.

Team India management didn’t want to leave any stone unturned for the 2019 World Cup and for the same, they have already started working on their bench strength. While a number of youngsters have already made their way to the national team, a lot of fringe players have performed spectacularly well and are waiting for a national call-up. But, Prasad believes that it’s too early to pick a squad for the ICC tournament.

"We have 6-7 good quality pacers, a person who has scored a triple-hundred in Test (Karun Nair) is waiting in the wings. Similarly, we thought of increasing the spinners' base. Fundamentally, we started off with an idea to increase the variety in our spin department. And time and again they have proved us right," the 42-year-old said.

"I still maintain the same thing that I have been saying every time. We have given the opportunity to the youngsters. Whatever tournament comes up, the best possible combination will be taken into consideration. The next World Cup is 16 months away so who is going to play and who is not is too early to say," he added.

Team India stepped their foot on the South African soil with the hope to win their first-ever Test series in the African nation but they ended the three-match Test series on the losing side. In many occasions, Indian batsmen failed to show their fighting spirit but throughout the three-match sojourn across the lengths and breaths of South Africa, it was the Indian bowlers, especially the pacers, who kept the hope alive. Prasad praised their performance and believes that the experience will help the side in the upcoming foreign tours.

"This series could have gone either way. We have taken 60 wickets and that's a wonderful thing. There are quite a few things that we have learnt from SA tour in terms of how to approach an away series, the preparation part of it.

"In fact in their own den, we have bowled better than them except for the one spell (Vernon) Philander bowled in Cape Town. It's not the only potential, but the toughness that our players have. We will definitely do well in both England and Australia. I am sure that no opposition will take us for granted. If they give seaming tracks, we know what we can do," he added.

Virat Kohli and the management faced criticism for their move of including Rohit Sharma in the first two Tests over India's best overseas batsman Ajinkya Rahane and dropping in-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the second game. Prasad stated that the team knew what is better for their game and also praised the team’s spirit and claimed that for players, the result is more important than their places in the side.

"It's easy to talk from outside. What is best for the team at that given point of time, that's what the team management decides on. Maybe at that point oftime the team might have thought, going by form, going by the wicket and maybe going by the combination that we are looking at. The beauty of the team is that these boys are ready to sacrifice their places for the sake of the side," he added.

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