India coach Ravi Shastri has made it clear that the team selection for next year’s T20 World Cup will not be based on reputation of players and that he doesn’t see more than four or five members of the current one-day squad being assured of a spot in the shortest format.
“We’ll be looking at it [T20 selection] very differently and as I said previously, I don’t see more than four or five players in the one-day team as permanent fixtures in T20. The path to finding the combination is already on, but make no mistake, T20 will be seen from a fresh perspective and a horses for courses policy will be followed,” Shastri told The Times of India in an interview.
The International Cricket Council will be holding back-to-back T20I World Cups in 2020 and 2021 and Shastri believes that the focus will change to the shorter format while the team looks to continue its dominance in the Test Championship.
“The amount of talent pool available in the T20 format is enormous. Tapping into that talent, giving the boys a good run – and not trying them out in some chop and change way – will be the priority. We have to allow young talents a decent run and that alone can help us figure where true potential lies. So, once picked, a youngster will be pursued with,” he said, adding that the team management would step in if there was any lack of communication between the players and selectors.
Ganguly the right man
Shastri pointed out that the newly elected BCCI president Sourav Ganguly followed a similar policy when he was the captain of the Indian team and with the 47-year-old at the helm it would be easier for the team management to make the point with the selection committee.
Shastri and Ganguly had been at loggerheads in the past few years after the latter backed Anil Kumble to be appointed India team coach in 2016. The fallout between skipper Virat Kohli and Kumble led to Shastri taking over the job again.
However, the 57-year-old felt that Ganguly’s elevation as BCCI president was a step in the right direction. “His appointment is an indication that Indian cricket is moving in the right direction. He’s always been a natural leader. When someone like him – who already dipped his feet into cricket administration four or five years ago – takes over as president of the BCCI, it’s a win-win for Indian cricket. These are difficult times for the board and there’s a lot of work to do to bring BCCI back on the path of glory,” said Shastri.
Let Dhoni decide
The Indian team coach was also critical of all those who had been constantly spectualing over former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s future in the national team and said the 38-year-old deserves the freedom to decide when he wants to hang his boots.
“Half the guys commenting on MS Dhoni can’t even tie their shoelaces. Look at what he’s achieved for the country. Why are people in a hurry to see him off? Maybe, they don’t find enough talking points. He and everybody who knows him know he’ll be going away soon. So, let it happen when it has to. Making statements at his expense is downright disrespectful.
“After 15 years of playing for India, wouldn’t he know what’s the right thing to do? When he retired from Test cricket, what did he say? That Wriddhiman Saha was good enough to be handed over the wicketkeeping gloves. He was correct. He’s been a shadow when it comes to the team, always sharing his mind, lending his views,” Shastri added.