The chairman of senior selection committee Sandeep Patil in a polite yet firm manner made it clear that his point of view on team’s pace attack is different from limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
In his third interaction in two months with the media, Patil was ecstatic about Harbhajan Singh’s strong comeback saying that “age will never be a criteria but form and fitness will be”. Patil, though, was a tad evasive about the name of reserve wicketkeeper but clear on how Virat Kohli’s reign would be different from Dhoni’s tenure as Test captain.
Asked about his view of retaining the same four-pronged attack which Dhoni has been critical of, Patil said, “I am not talking about what Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said. But we are always trying to get a proper balance. And the wicket in Sri Lanka is such that we felt this is the best possible bowling combination. We all selectors felt we can go ahead with it.”
Patil was polite yet diplomatic when asked if he was hurt about Dhoni’s view on too much emphasis on pace.
“Captain has all the right to make a comment and we have no objection to that. It is upto BCCI to react to that,” said Patil, who spoke to the media sitting alongside secretary Anurag Thakur.
“MS Dhoni is one of the best leaders that we have seen and he has all the right to make comments regarding bowlers,” he added.
But Patil said that they did discuss the performance of the Bangladesh and Zimbabwe series.
“We did discuss the performances. On both tours, my co-selectors, who had been on those tours, gave their feedbacks. Prior to the selection meeting, we always discuss, we just do not sit and select the team. We analyse the reason for a particular department that is not doing well. In Zimbabwe, we did well with young players and a new captain like Ajinkya Rahane.”
When asked about Dhoni’s trusted players like Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja not finding a place in Kohli’s squad, Patil said: “Look, there will always be a change in the mix with change of captain. Every captain has his own outlook and perspective when he is leading the side. Someone may be an offensive captain, someone may be a defensive captain. But yes, approach of the captain defines that particular period.
“We expect Virat to do well but we cannot predict the future. When Sachin (Tendulkar), Dada (Ganguly), Rahul (Dravid) and VVS (Laxman) retired, we never thought we would get immediate replacements but we got them.”
On Harbhajan, Patil said, “Harbhajan has comeback strong. As I repeatedly said, it is our job to represent every domestic player. We selectors are happy how Harbhajan has comeback. We expect our spin attack, Bhajji, Ashwin and Amit (Mishra) to deliver.”