Aakash Chopra believes India made the right call in picking Srikar Bharat ahead of Ishan Kishan in the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
With Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul ruled out of the WTC final, India had to choose between Bharat and Kishan as the wicketkeeping option. Rohit Sharma and Co. opted to go with the more secure gloveman in Bharat rather than picking Kishan for his destructive batting abilities.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra was asked why Bharat was played ahead of Kishan in the WTC final considering that the latter was in decent form in the IPL, to which he responded:
"Playing Bharat was right. A legitimate grouse was that you focus more on IPL performances and that you don't attentively watch the performances of first-class or long-form cricketers. According to that, Bharat should have played and he played, which is right."
Bharat gave a decent account of himself behind the wickets in the WTC final. However, he couldn't make a substantial contribution with the bat, aggregating 28 runs across his two innings.
"It is the truth" - Aakash Chopra on whether enough importance is not being given to first-class performances
Aakash Chopra was further asked whether enough importance is not being given to first-class performances, to which he replied:
"It is the truth that we are not giving. This thing has become extremely clear. It is not that players are being picked in Test cricket only based on IPL performances but when the man-to-man marking is done, the scale is tilted towards that at times and we have definitely seen that. There is no doubt about that."
The former Indian opener pointed out that first-class performers like Abhimanyu Easwaran, Priyank Panchal, Sarfaraz Khan and Rinku Singh have been overlooked for the West Indies tour:
"What you are saying is not wrong - Abhimanyu Easwaran, Priyank Panchal, Sarfaraz Khan, and then there are more. There is Rinku Singh as well. He too has a average of 60 in first-class cricket but no one is talking about him."
Citing Jalaj Saxena as another example, Chopra concluded by highlighting that not many players are selected based on performances in domestic cricket:
"Importance needs to be given to first-class cricket. We say that Ranji Trophy should be played but when it comes to the selection, not many players are picked from there. Jalaj Saxena is another example. So there are plenty of such examples. You are right, your question hurt me."
The Indian selectors have dropped Cheteshwar Pujara for the West Indies tour. Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad received their maiden call-ups in the main squad despite the latter not enjoying a great record in first-class cricket.
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