Srikkanth takes the blame
India's chairman of selectors Krishnamachari Srikkanth has taken responsibility for the team selection following the first Test defeat.
By James Mason
Last Updated: 10/02/10 3:01pm
India's chairman of selectors Krishnamachari Srikkanth has taken full responsibility for the team selection following defeat in the first Test against South Africa in Nagpur.
The home-side were convincingly beaten with the Proteas winning by an innings and six-runs - Dale Steyn claiming match figures of 10 for 108.
Since the match, criticism has been directed towards the team selectors due to the decision to include Wriddhiman Saha.
The 25-year-old was originally picked in the squad as a wicketkeeper, but injuries to VVS Laxman and Rohit Sharma resulted in the uncapped player being forced to act as a front-line batsman.
Saha went onto make only 36-runs in the match and questions have since been asked as to why there was not a regular batsman in the list of reserves.
Srikkanth was disappointed with the result but insists there was nothing wrong with the balance of the team.
Speaking to CNN-IBN, he said: "I don't think the team composition was a particular issue. But unfortunately that is the way things go.
"When the team wins it's all fine, but when the team loses, generally the selectors get bashed.
"So I am willing to take the blame and own up the responsibility and I am not shying away from.
"The point, however, is what happened on the morning of the Test was bizarre.
"If a player, and that too a standby player, is unfit just 15 minutes before the toss, I don't think anybody can be blamed for it.
"Rohit wasn't even in the original 15, but we called him up because Laxman wasn't fully fit although we hoped he would be in time for the game.
"Normally we have a middle-order batsman in reserve, but for this Test alone we chose an extra fast bowler.
"Had Rohit played, there would not have been this criticism regardless of the number of runs he scored.
"But I take full responsibility. You can fire me and say the selection was bad. I'm willing to own up and accept it.
"We have learnt a lesson and that is that we are not going to pick players who are not 100% fit."
India now have a lot of work to do if they are to level the series in Kolkata, with another defeat resulting in South Africa becoming the ICC top-ranked Test team.
Despite the poor performance in the first match, Srikkanth is still confident the home-side can bounce back.
He added: "We have to accept defeat gracefully and move on. This is our first Test loss in 18-months and it is part of the game. I'm sure our team will and has the capability to fight back."