The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the largest cricket board which holds the responsibility to manage cricket players and their selection. Mr M S K Prasad, the Chief Selector, had stated that the management was not happy with the batting order of the playing eleven, specifically at number four, in the 2019 Cricket World Cup. But was the batting order the only major problem India faced?
In the past five years, many players were dropped just after a series or two, especially the ones selected as the middle order batsman. They were given trivial reasons which left the players baffled. An unhealthy relationship developed between the players and the management due to the improper communication between them once the players were dropped.
The cricket career of Ajinkya Rahane is the best example. Rahane is known as one of the best players while playing ‘away’ matches for India. Despite the shuffling in his batting position by the team management, he was able to perform across all formats of the game. But it was disheartening when Rahane was dropped post World Cup 2015. It was stated that Rahane’s form wasn’t up to the mark especially in the semi-final against Australia in 2015, which resulted in a loss. But BCCI, however, missed the situation when India was struggling with 108-4 (chasing 329) and big players like Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina were out scoring single digits. And from there on a crucial partnership was built between Rahane and M.S. Dhoni. Also, there came a time in a test series against RSA (2018), when the Vice-Captain of the team, Rahane, wasn’t considered for a couple of matches which obviously resulted in a loss.
Like Rahane, many other players faced similar situations, Ambati Rayadu, Wriddhiman Saha, Suresh Raina, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Manish Pandey, to name a few. It seems that BCCI isn’t considering the scenarios in the matches and is just looking over numbers. If we drop quality players instantly, the players will get demotivated. The kind of rejection that these players face after getting honoured with the national blue cap puts a question on their capabilities. Yes, the talent in the country is immense and not every quality player can be in the squad. But, as being the largest cricket board in the world, managing these players should be taken care with better understanding. At least, they should have given opportunities against low performing teams like West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan.
Even if we consider the BCCI technique to drop players on basis of their current form, then why was Karun Nair not considered after scoring a phenomenal 303 runs on his debut test match against England? It’s a shame that even after beating the most agile player, Virat Kohli in the Yo-Yo test, a young talent was ignored. The Yo-Yo test led to drop of experienced players like Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina, who were still in good form. Other than the selection committee, the captain and the coach do have a say in the selection process and they need to communicate it for the future of the Indian cricket. Indian team is still in search of a middle order player who is consistent in the limited format of the games.