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The tale of two chief selectors: MSK Prasad and Inzamam

MSK Prasad

Bengaluru, July 22: After both the South Asian neighbours - India and Pakistan - failed to win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, there have been reactions as usual.

However, it has been case of a study in contrast for the chief selectors of the two countries, may be because India finished a step better than their arch-rivals by reaching the semifinals.

Pakistan have already seen the exit of their chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq after their World Cup campaign ended in a disaster. The former national captain of Pakistan and one of their best batsmen was in charge as the chief selector since 2016 following his coaching stint with Afghanistan.

He still had a high point in his first-ever stint as the selector when Pakistan bagged the Champions Trophy in England in 2017, defeating India in the final. But Pakistan's failure in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and accusations of nepotism against the man (it was alleged that he backed his nephew Imam-ul-Haq even though the later has an impressive average in ODIs) did him in.

In India, though, MSK Prasad still finds his place secure. Having played 114 Tests less than Inzamam (six to 120) and with a year or so career in international cricket (Inzamam had 16 years), the former India wicket-keeper continues to hold the prestigious position of the chief selector even though many have expressed shock over the criteria that make people with such little experience such position holders. But one supposes it is how things are run in the sub-continent. Achievements do not necessarily guarantee posts.

Inzamam-ul-Haq

The criticism of Inzamam was not fair since a single individual can't do much in changing a system which is in place for long. He still did his bit by picking some experienced seamers in the Pakistan World Cup squad in the eleventh hour and they (especially Mohammad Amir) did well in the mega tournament.

In India, the drama was avoidable

In case of India, the drama over Ambati Rayudu showed that the selection panel is very little effective if it fails to match the stature of those who play it out in the middle. Putting so many wicket-keeper-batsmen in a squad instead of some genuine batsmen is something that India's selection panel should feel ashamed of. That certainly did not fulfil any logical selection criteria.

People often ask why India can't have people with great accomplishments in positions of coaches and selectors. One school of thought is that such individuals will not be able to work with full freedom and they will not crawl either. Anil Kumble's unceremonious exit is a case in hand. So is Inzamam's.

It is the mediocre that rules the roost off the cricket fields in these parts of the world.

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Story first published: Monday, July 22, 2019, 14:32 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 22, 2019
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