Following the outrage from legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar about the Team India selection committee, chief selector MSK Prasad has justified the committee's actions in an exclusive interview with PTI.
Here's what MSK Prasad said:
Question: Do you feel that in order to fit in MS Dhoni, the selectors compromised on the middle-order balance?
Answer: Had we won the (World Cup) semi-final (against New Zealand), especially after the collapse we had at the top of the order, then the knocks that Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni played would have been hailed as one of the best knocks ever.
I can clearly say this that till today MS is the best glovemen and finisher in India in the shorter formats. The others are still work in progress. MS was a big strength to this team in the World Cup both as a batsman and keeper, apart from sharing his vast experience with the team and captain while taking on-field decisions.
The cricketer-turned-selector still believes that MS Dhoni is a force to reckon with in the shorter formats for India with his outstanding abilities behind the stumps and his finishing abilities with the bat. Prasad also said that the 2011 World Cup-winning skipper was a big strength to the team in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 who apart from being a batsman and a keeper also shared his vast experience with the team and captain Virat Kohli while taking on-field decisions.
Chasing a modest total of 240, the Men In Blue who had topped the league table found themselves in all sorts of trouble at 5/3 in just the fourth over after their famed top-order batsmen Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul fell cheaply. After Dinesh Karthik's dismissal, youngsters Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya were involved in a small partnership but lost their wickets when India were managing to find their way back into the contest.
When it looked like the two-time winners were on the verge of a humiliating defeat at 92/6, Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja resurrected India's run chase with a 116-run stand for the seventh-wicket. The two middle-order batsmen brought their team to the cusp of victory.
Just when it looked like Team India would register a famous win and reach their fourth World Cup final, Jadeja was dismissed by Trent Boult in the quest of going for big shots to match up with the asking rate. However, it was not over until Dhoni was out in the middle and it appeared that he would repeat the heroics of that 2011 final at the Wankhede Stadium. He hit a delivery off Lockie Ferguson for six which ignited the Indian hopes.
Unfortunately, on the following delivery, he was run out by a sharp throw from Martin Guptill after replays showed that the ex-skipper failed to make his ground. His run out triggered the end of India's resistance as they suffered an 18-run loss to exit from the quadrennial event.