MSK Prasad on Indian openers: “They are not living up to the expectations”

Dixit Bhargav
|Published 25/12/2018

MSK Prasad on Indian openers: The Chief Selector of the Indian team was vocal about the lean patch of the Indian opening batsmen.

With India announcing their playing XI for the Boxing Day Test a day before the match, the news regarding the individual droppings of Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul have been made public. Given their dismal form in the first two Test, it was a development which was bound to happen.

Chief Selector MSK Prasad was present at MCG and was vocal about all the three changes which India have made for the third Test starting tomorrow. It is worth mentioning that India have included debutant Mayank Agarwal, middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in place of the opening pair in Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay and fast bowler Umesh Yadav.

Asked about the new opening pair, Prasad confirmed that Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari will face the new ball tomorrow. “We’ve called in Mayank Agarwal. He’s in good form after that India A series so naturally he gets into the side. The way [Hanuma] Vihari has batted, it convinced everybody that he has a sound technique to play,” Prasad was quoted as saying to the media.

Apart from talking about the new openers, Prasad also shared his views as to why Rahul and Vijay were dropped. “Going by current form, we all know that the current openers [Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay] are not living up to the expectations. I can definitely say that it is really unfortunate,” he said.

The new opening combination will see India promoting a middle-order batsman in Vihari up the order, albeit not for the first time. Prasad lauded his technique, stating it to be the reason behind the decision.

“We feel that he is technically well-equipped. There were times when [Cheteshwar] Pujara also opened when the team required. It’s the team’s demand and I hope he will come out successful. Definitely, it’s not a long-term solution,” Prasad said of promoting Vihari up the order.

During the time of announcing the original squad, Prasad had mentioned wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel’s ability to open the innings as one of the reasons behind taking him to Australia. However, from the time that India have been searching for an opener, his name has not appeared even once.

“We not only go by form but we also look into what kind of combination we need. What Vihari can offer, Parthiv Patel may not offer. All those things are taken into consideration,” Prasad added about not Patel as a specialist opener.

The chief selector also opened about Jadeja, who is believed to have sustained an injury even before flying to Australia. Clarifying his stand on the same, Prasad further added, “On the eve of any selection committee, it [selection committee] is given a fitness report of all the players.

“In that report, Jadeja was absolutely fit so we picked him. After we picked him, he went to play Ranji Trophy, so there was no doubt that he was unfit at the time of selection.”

Read some of the latest Twitter reactions on India’s playing XI below:


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Dixit Bhargav

Dixit Bhargav

Born and brought up in Pathankot, Dixit Bhargav is an engineering and sports management graduate who is currently into his fifth year as a Cricket Editor at The SportsRush. His first cricketing memory dates back to 2002 when former India captain Sourav Ganguly had waved his jersey at the historic Lord’s balcony. What followed for an 8-year-old was an instant adulation for both Ganguly and the sport. The optimist in him is waiting for the day when Punjab Kings will win their maiden Indian Premier League title. When not watching cricket, he is mostly found in a cinema hall watching a Punjabi movie.

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