Former India selector Sarandeep Singh shared his thoughts on Ravi Shastri’s recent comments about team selection in the 2019 ODI World Cup. Shastri, whose tenure as India head coach ended after the 2021 T20 World Cup, said he “had no say” in Ambati Rayudu’s exclusion and added that he saw little “logic” in the selection of three wicketkeeper-batters in MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, and Dinesh Karthik in the squad. Sarandeep, who was a part of the selection committee headed by MSK Prasad that selected India’s 2019 ODI World Cup squad, agreed that the coach indeed did not have a say in the selection but the committee was always on the same page with the captain and coach.
“Ravi Shastri is right that the coach does not have any say in the selection meeting but the selection committee goes to the ground, speaks to the captain and head coach and tells them about the plans and we also ask what they want. If there is any player you are asking for. If you look at the last few years, we are winning almost every bilateral series,” said Sarandeep Singh while speaking to ANI.
“He is the head coach so he can say which player he wants. He can say anything to Virat about what he wants. Sometimes it happens that we feel differently but at the end of the day we are always on the same page. For four years we never had different thoughts with Ravi bhai and he is a good coach also. He listens to us all the time. So, suddenly if something like this came up, we always sat together and were always on the same page,” added the former off-spinner.
Sarandeep, who was the selector from North Zone also explained why Pant was sent as a replacement when Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the tournament due to an injury.
“All the three wicket-keepers are very good as batsmen. A selector does not interfere in selection. Rishabh Pant was selected when Shikhar Dhawan got injured during the World Cup. We already had an opener in KL Rahul. So, we were looking for someone to come and bat in the middle order and play big shots. This is the reason why Rishabh Pant was in the team. But to pick playing eleven is team management’s call. The selection committee does not interfere in it. In the 2019 World Cup if you are looking at selection of Rishabh Pant then he was not their first choice. MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik were in the team and we were winning all the matches. We even topped the table,” explained Sarandeep.
The former off-spinner said the selection committee always travelled and watched domestic matches to spot young talent.
“But suddenly with these things coming, it will be upsetting for us because we did our job fairly. We travelled all the time, we saw domestic matches in which batsmen, bowlers or all-rounders are doing well. There is nothing like that we never share anything and we just have things on the table and we say that this is the team. The captain is also sitting in the meeting all the time,” he added.
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