India’s incredible series win in Australia was as much a victory of the backroom staff as it was of the players. While the young and inexperienced cricketers stood up and punched above their weight, it was made possible by the processes set up by the backroom staff and BCCI. Even as the likes of Ravi Shastri, Bharat Arun and Rahul Dravid get lauded – rightly – for their contributions, one set of former cricketers too would silently be feeling proud: the selection committee headed by MSK Prasad.
Prasad, along with Sarandeep Singh, Gagan Khoda, Devang Gandhi and Jatin Paranjpe, were key in India developing the bench strength that they have today. Prasad’s tenure saw the Indian team developing a strong India A set up which acted as a feeder system to the national team, bridging the gap between domestic and international cricket. India A ‘shadow tours’ before major series abroad became the norm, the rewards of which are being seen now.
“When our committee had taken up our roles, our thought process was was very very clear that we cannot do much about the current Indian lot. Our strength lies in developing a succession chart, in developing a good bench strength across all formats and departments of the game. For that, we’ve extensively traveled across the country, followed the neutral policy and without bias developed a healthy bench strength.
Fortunately, we had a wonderful combination with Rahul Dravid in India A and Ravi bhai in the senior team. Quite a few times we all sat together and created a pathway where the process is very smooth from domestic to India A to the senior level.
We had a very clear plan. What we’re looking at today’s series, except Natarajan, rest all were groomed through a systematic process of India A. The entire credit should go to my colleagues, our team, and also Rahul Dravid and his support staff and Ravi bhai and his support staff. The healthy environment that we could create for the smooth transition of the players is what helped” he said.