MSK Prasad, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni
MSK Prasad (Credits - Twitter)

Last Update on: January 3rd, 2020 at 12:19 pm

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Ahead of the completion of his tenure as the chief of India’s national selection panel, MSK Prasad has made the work of his successor a bit easier by naming a solid set of players who currently form the bench strength of the team. The tenure of MSK Prasad has ended along with one another member, Gagan Khoda. Jatin Paranjpe, Sarandeep Singh and Devang Gandhi still have one year left in their tenure but there is speculation that they are unlikely to be retained.

The fate of the selection panel is likely to be decided this month. But ahead of parting ways with the board, MSK Prasad has named the players who can serve Indian cricket in coming days. MSK Prasad was asked to highlight his picks as standout batting and bowling reserves his team will be leaving behind for the new panel and he duly obliged.

Talking about India’s batting bench strength Prasad picked four—two of whom are on a comeback trail, and the other two were the leading domestic run-scorers of last season. The players are KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Abhimanyu Easwaran and Priyank Panchal.

“If you take the case of openers, now with Rohit (Sharma) stepping up, you have Rohit, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Abhimanyu Easwaran and Priyank Panchal. On any given day, any of these guys can open for India. That’s how we have groomed them from a systematic process through India A tours,” MSK Prasad was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. 

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. Credit: BCCI

KL Rahul lost his place in the Test side after the tour of West Indies but has been in stunning form in limited-overs format. Prithvi Shaw, on the other hand, has hit the ground running since returning to action after serving the suspension imposed on him due to a doping violation. After impressing in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he scored a double century against Baroda in the Ranji Trophy.

Easwaran and Panchal have been in stunning form in domestic circuit. The Bengal and Gujarat openers, had prolific Ranji seasons with 861 and 898 runs, averaging 95 and 60, respectively.

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Bowling reserves:

In the bowling department, MSK Prasad named six players who currently form the reserve list. As of now, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav are doing a stunning job in Test.

“Talking of fast bowling back-ups, we have Navdeep Saini, Avesh Khan, Basil Thampi, Sandeep Warrier, Ishan Porel and Mohammed Siraj. So, there is a bench for every slot. I am sure this will pave the way and strengthen the Indian team across all formats,” said Prasad.

Saini has already made his T20I and ODI debut for India and has impressed. Avesh is also in picture for quite some time now. He was sent with the Indian team to South Africa in 2018 as a net bowler. He performed the same duty in the UK last year when India were preparing for the World Cup.

Navdeep Saini
Navdeep Saini. (Credits: BCCI)

Basil Thampi has already proved himself in the IPL with his deadly yorkers and has been doing well in first-class cricket too. So far, he has picked up 72 wickets with the red-ball. Warrier has been picked for one-day and four-day India A squads for the upcoming New Zealand A tour.

He earned the call after a fine display in first-class cricket last season where he picked 44 wickets to help Kerala make it to the semifinal of the Ranji Trophy. Like Warrier, Porel has been named in India A’s squad for the tour of New Zealand too while Mohammed Siraj is a popular name in the Indian cricket circle.

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