Renowned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar has expressed his displeasure over the red-ball selection of KL Rahul and believes recalling a player for Tests based on IPL form sets a bad precedent. Manjrekar feels selectors forgetting about Rahul’s ‘abject failures’ is a slap to the Ranji performers.
The new team Indian national selection committee, headed by Sunil Joshi, on Monday, announced the squads for the tour of Australia and left fans and experts alike bewildered with a few selections and non-selections. While, unsurprisingly, the omission of Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav have taken the center stage, there has also been outrage surrounding the Test recall for KL Rahul.
Rahul, the new vice-captain of India’s limited-overs sides in the absence of Rohit Sharma, has had a horror run in whites since the start of 2018. In fact, across his last 12 innings in Tests, Rahul averages just 17.72 and his thin returns even saw him be axed by the selectors for the 2019/20 home season and the New Zealand tour that subsequently followed it.
But on Monday, in surprising circumstances, the 28-year-old was handed a recall for the longest format. The decision has not gone down well with many, and one amongst the lot is Sanjay Manjrekar. The Cricketer-turned-commentator, earlier today, took to Twitter to express his displeasure of Rahul’s recall which, he believes, is an insult to consistent performers in the Ranji Trophy.
“You set a bad precedent when you recall a player for Tests on IPL performance. Especially if the player has been an abject failure in his last few Tests. Whether that player succeeds or fails is irrelevant, such selections massively demotivate Ranji players,” read Manjrekar’s Tweet.
But while Rahul was given a controversial recall, one cricketer who was handed a rightful call-up was Mohammad Siraj. The 26-year-old, who averages 23.00 in FC cricket, has been a consistent red-ball performer for both India A and Hyderabad for close to three years and so, two years after his maiden Test call-up versus the Windies in 2018, Siraj was named in the Test squad again, on Monday.
Manjrekar was stoked about the right-armer’s selection and claimed that he was glad that the selectors finally are picking the right players for the right formats.
“Mohd Siraj is a good selection for Tests. A lot of these wonderfully talented young fast bowlers are in the spotlight in a format that does not suit them best. Like Saini, can be a very handy Test bowler.”