Former Board of Control for Cricket in India chief selector MSK Prasad on Tuesday said that poor form during the 2018-’19 domestic season was the reason why senior batsman Suresh Raina didn’t make a comeback with the Indian team.

The southpaw had recently stated that he felt hard done by the national selection committee and called the board to treat senior players with more responsibility. The 33-year-old, who has appeared in 226 ODIs, 78 T20Is and 18 Tests, last played for India in July 2018 in England.

Last year, Raina had a knee surgery in the Netherlands and was eyeing a comeback with his Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings in the currently postponed Indian Premier League.

“See VVS Laxman, when he was dropped from the Indian Test squad in 1999, he forced himself back by scoring over 1400 runs in domestic cricket,” Prasad told PTI. “This is what is expected from senior players when they are dropped.”

Raina scored 243 runs, with two fifties, in five Ranji games in the 2018-’19 season. The second-highest run-getter in IPL history scored only 383 runs in 17 games for CSK in 2019 which dashed his World Cup hopes.

Prasad added: “Unfortunately, we didn’t see that form here in Raina’s case in domestic cricket while other youngsters emerged at the big stage with their brilliant performances in domestic cricket and India A.”

Recently, Raina, in a YouTube show Sports Tak, accused the selectors of not clarifying why he was dropped, something Prasad, whose four-year tenure ended earlier this year, denied.

“I think selectors should have taken more responsibility towards the senior players. Tell me if I have any deficiencies, I will work hard. When the cause is not known, how he will improve?” Raina had said on the show.

The former India wicketkeeper, was hurt by the allegation. “It is so sad to hear from him that selectors don’t watch Ranji games. Please check the records with BCCI that how many matches were watched by senior selection committee members in the last four years.”

Prasad said he had talks with Raina over his exclusion and told him what was expected to get back into Virat Kohli’s side.

“I had personally spoken to Raina calling him to my room and explained him the roadmap for his future comebacks. He had, back then, appreciated my efforts. I am really surprised when I have heard things which are exactly contrary to what had happened.”

Prasad gave a lowdown of how many of Uttar Pradesh’s Ranji matches he had seen. “I gave postings to my selectors looking at those matches where the consistent players, fringe players, probables or comeback players are playing,” said Prasad.

“Personally, I watched four UP games in Lucknow and Kanpur in the last four years apart from the other many UP matches my colleagues have seen.

“I take pride in saying that our selection committee has watched more than 200 Ranji matches in the last four years,” he added.

Prasad cited the example of former all-rounder and 1983 World Cup hero Mohinder Amarnath, who made a record of sorts during his 20-year international career.

“When a senior player is dropped from the squad, we expect him to go back to domestic cricket and get his form back,” he said. “If you look at the great Mohinder Amarnath, check how many times he was dropped and made a strong comeback with stellar performances in domestic cricket.”