Ajit Agarkar’s individual army behind the selections of Dhruv Jurel and Devdutt Padikkal | Cricket


When Sunil Gavaskar praised Rahul Dravid and his support team for doing the “behind the scenes work” with the Indian team after their triumph against England, the head coach was quick to mention the work of the selection committee headed by Ajit Agarkar.

Indian coach Rahul Dravid and BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar (ANI)

“A big shout out to Ajit and his team as well. A lot of young guys coming in… as a coach and captain we don’t get to see them much. We don’t see as much domestic cricket as Ajit . and his team of selectors do that. They pushed us. They challenged us to select some of these kids and they came here and played. It’s not easy being a selector. You always get some criticism but a big pat on the back. to Ajit and his team,” Dravid said in an interview with Jio Cinema after India’s 4-1 win against the Bazballers.

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It was one of the 1001 reasons to appreciate Dravid as a team member, more so as a human being. But to equate this entirely with Dravid’s humility would be a bit unfair to the selectors, especially his boss, Agarkar.

Agarkar’s role in the selections of Jurel and Padikkal

The young people Dravid spoke of were Dhruv Jurel and Devdutt Padikkal. It was Agarkar who pushed for the selection of these two cricketers in the England series. After Ishan Kishan withdrawn from the South Africa Test series due to mental fatigue, the management was in a pickle over the back-up keeper. It has already been decided that KL Rahul will play as a specialist hitter. This left India with only one conservation option: KS Bharat.

“It was Agarkar who suggested Jurel’s name. The team management didn’t have much faith in him as he was still a rookie. Choosing a youngster who hasn’t had much exposure to the red ball at the highest level immediately into the Indian team for an important series like England was always going to be a brave move, but Agarkar had seen enough to vouch for the youngster,” a BCCI source said. told Hindustan Times.

After Bharat failed with the bat in the first two Tests, Jurel received his Test cap in Rajkot. The boy from Agra did not disappoint. With a solid 45 on debut, he proved Agarkar’s instincts correct. But what he achieved in the next Test in Ranchi would not only help India achieve a series win but also cement his place in the Indian team as a keeper, even if The Rishabh pants are back. Jurel top-scored in the first innings with a 91, then remained cool under immense pressure in the second innings with an unbeaten 36 to take India home.

There was another selection inspired by Devdutt Padikkal where Agarkar took the lead. When it was more or less confirmed that Virat Kohli and KL Rahul would not be able to feature in the remaining two Tests of the series due to different reasons, India needed a strong batting player in the middle order. The Test caps have already been handed over to Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan. After the captain Rohit Sharmaall-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was India’s most experienced batter in the top six.

“There was a discussion about Cheteshwar Pujara, who was scoring runs in the Ranji Trophy. The batting line-up literally had no experience. But Agarkar stood firm in looking ahead with the selection of Padikkal. He was present when he hit a fluent 150 in a Ranji Trophy and he thought his height would come in handy against the inexperienced English spinners,” the source added.

In his only chance to bat at Test level in the final Test at Dharamsala, Padikkal scored a crucial 65 in the first innings. Agarkar was also instrumental in the selections of Sai Sudharsan and Rajat Patidar during the tour of South Africa.

Agarkar will have final say in T20 World Cup selection, IPL performance not the only parameter

The former Indian fast bowler has been calling the shots since he took over as sector president in July last year amid turmoil. His predecessor, Chetan Sharma, had to resign following a sting operation carried out by a national news channel. The pedigree of the selection committee was called into question.

The Council wanted a change. Agarkar arrived, the face of the new selection committee with a proven track record as chief selector of the Mumbai Cricket Association. He was a man with a voice backed by a keen eye for talent.

He does not shy away from the difficult task. If he recommended remove names of Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer from the central list for not playing the Ranji Trophy or preparing replacements for each position, Agarkar has been at the forefront of shaping the backbone of the Indian team as much as coach Dravid and the Captain Rohit.

With India still in the hunt for their first ICC trophy since 2013, the T20 World Cup in June is the closest opportunity and those in the know believe it is Agarkar who will have the last laugh in the selection of the last 15. the IPL but the dynamics of franchise cricket and international cricket are different.

“The IPL will be important but it will not be the main selection criteria for the T20 World Cup. The selectors have more or less constituted a squad. The IPL won’t change much unless there is a breakthrough performance or a drastic dip in form,” the source added.

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