MS Dhoni must play domestic cricket to make himself eligible for India selection, feels Mohinder Amarnath

Image Source : PTI. Mohinder Amarnath played 69 Tests and 85 ODIs for India.

Former India all-rounder and selector Mohinder Amarnath feels MS Dhoni and other senior players must play domestic cricket to be eligible for selection in the national team.

Having being dropped from the Twenty20 side recently and retired from Tests long ago, Dhoni now is a certainty in only ODI cricket.

Despite having the time, the former captain did not play the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy this year and will go into the three-match series in Australia next month without any match practice.

“Every individual is different but one thing I have always believed in is that if you want to play for India you have to play for your state as well. I think they (BCCI) should change this policy altogether. A lot of senior players don’t play domestic cricket,” Amarnath told PTI on sidelines of an event organised by Royal Stag in collaboration with the ICC.

Legendary opener Sunil Gavaskar had suggested the same recently.

Shikhar Dhawan is another senior player who is not playing the ongoing Ranji Trophy despite being dropped from the Test team.

“The BCCI should make it an eligibility criterion. Not only a number of games, but you should also be playing regularly for your state if you are not playing for India and not only just before the India selection. Then only you can judge how good the guy is playing. Whatever you have achieved is all in the past. What is important is current form,” said the hero of India’s World Cup triumph in 1983.

“Even if you are playing one format, you should be playing all formats at least in domestic cricket to be considered for selection,” the former selector said.

Talking about the ongoing Test series in Australia, Amarnath said India are a superior unit but the depleted hosts are capable of giving them a run for their money even in the absence of suspended Steve Smith and David Warner.

“Australian cricketers think differently. It is not the first time they are going through this kind of phase. At the time of Kerry Packer series, they lost their top players, they toured South Africa without their top players and now they don’t have their top two players and some of the guys have retired.

“They are in the process of building a new team. But from what I watched in the first Test, some of the players are really good. You can’t just rule Australia out of the series. Of course, India are more superior but again they have to continue playing good cricket.

“The first Test was a fantastic Test match from a cricketing point of view. The only difference was Cheteshwar Pujara. It shows we are here for a thrilling series with advantage India,” said the 68-year-old, who played 69 Tests and 85 ODIs.

How will India do in the second Test starting Friday in Perth?

“It depends on the nature of the wicket. If the wicket is doing a bit, some of the batsmen struggle with their technique. It is not how aggressive you play, the key to Test cricket is that only when you leave good deliveries, you occupy the crease for a long time. It is not that they don’t have that in them but they have to adapt.”

Amarnath’s longtime teammate Syed Kirmani had recently said the current selection panel headed by MSK Prasad was not experienced enough to challenge the decisions of captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri.

The five-member panel is low on international playing experience with chief Prasad having played six Tests and 17 ODIs. The other four — Sarandeep Singh (2 Tests, 5 ODIs), Devang Gandhi (4 Tests, 3 ODIs), Jatin Paranjpe (4 ODIs) and Gagan Khoda (2 ODIs) — too do not have enough experience in top-flight.

Amarnath said you have to be an ‘achiever’ to gain the respect of the players.

“It is not about the experience (as a selector). You are selected to do a job because you are good enough for that. But definitely if you are an achiever you think differently, if you are a non-achiever, definitely you cannot take decisions at times,” he signed off by saying.

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