Sanjay Manjrekar has invited a storm of controversy once again, after putting out his thoughts about the Indian squad for India's tour of Australia which is slated to begin in the end of November. The former Indian batsman was dropped from the BCCI's commentary team ahead of the Dream11 IPL 2020 in March. The reason behind this was not made public, but speculation is that Manjrekar's comments and outspokenness have not gone down well with some members of the team.
You set a bad precedent when you recall a player for Tests on IPL performance. Especially if the player has been an abject failure in his last few Tests. Whether that player succeeds or fails is irrelevant, such selections massively demotivate Ranji players. #INDvsAUS— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) October 27, 2020
The BCCI announced India's T20I, ODI and Test squads for the upcoming Indian tour of Australia yesterday. While some names like Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara were named in the Test squad, Manjrekar claims that KL Rahul's addition to the list is surprising. In a cryptic tweet, Manjrekar wrote that recalling a player for the Test squad on the basis of their performance in white-ball cricket was a huge blow to the country's Ranji players. While he did not name anyone in this tweet, he later responded to a fan question, confirming that he had in fact been talking about KL.
KL Rahul in his last 5 Test series— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) October 27, 2020
- v SA - Avg 7.1
- v Eng - Avg 29
- v WI at home - Avg 18
- v Aus - Avg 10.7
- v WI - Avg 25.4
I say very lucky to get a recall based on IPL & white ball performance. But now let’s just hope he makes the most of this chance. Good luck to him! https://t.co/YBVbeut5jH
Manjrekar's comments are not wholly unfounded. As he wrote in his own tweet, Rahul's performance over his last five Test Series, both at home, and away, have been average. KL Rahul was dropped from India's Test squad after a poor series against West Indies in 2019 where he managed just 101 runs from four innings. In the Test series against Australia, he made a dismal 57 runs from 6 innings. His best Test performance in the last two years came against England in 2018, where he made 299 in 10 innings. His highest score in the series was 149 at the Oval.
Considering this, it is not unfair of Manjerekar to say that regular Ranji players with better averages and more experience would be demotivated by Rahul's selection on the basis of his performance in the Dream11 IPL 2020. However, his statement that KL got "very lucky" with this selection has also drawn the ire of fans who accused him of a bias towards Rohit Sharma, who was repeatedly included in Test squads despite poor performances without earning similar critique from Manjrekar. Here's how fans reacted to Manjrekar's claims -
Just like your cricket career, your analysis (if you can call it that) leaves a lot to be desired— Sanjay Keshup (@sanjkesh) October 27, 2020
KL going on form is the best batsmen in India right now, with amazing grit and application. He deserves chance to make something of Test cricket cause India could benefit if it c/o
Even kohli had bad tours. They came out and performed. This time kl seems CLASS+CONSISTENT=SOLID PERFORMANCE in all innings— ArunKumarVC (@vc_arunMDU2000) October 27, 2020
Not lucky indeed much deserved. Can you please tell me then on what basis did Rohit Sharma made a comeback in red ball cricket? @sanjaymanjrekar— yash shah (@yashshah_tweets) October 27, 2020
India are all set to play three T20Is, three ODIs and four Test matches, including the famed Boxing Day Test, in Australia starting in November this year. The official schedule is yet to be announced due to some broadcast conflicts and the COVID-19 restrictions. This Test series will be a part of the World Test Championship. India are currently at the first place on the table followed by Australia.
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