Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has emphasized on the need for having capable selectors who are able to recognize talent very early, in order to hold the senior Test sides in good stead. Chappell used the example of Keegan Petersen of South Africa who had an excellent Test series against India, helping the Proteas win the three-match series 2-1. “South Africa surprisingly defeated India in an old-fashioned dogfight that included some enthralling cricket. It also involved ample emotion of the sort that has notably been missing from an Ashes contest that has been surprisingly uncontroversial so far. The South Africa series featured bowling domination on pitches that were probably too much in favour of the fielding side, but there was also some exquisite batting,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
“Because defiant batting wasn’t prevalent, gutsy innings by Dean Elgar, Temba Bavuma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli stood out. The exhilarating shot-making extravaganzas of Rishabh Pant and Keegan Petersen proved that aggressive batting with scoring in mind could be achieved even on testing surfaces. In particular, Petersen’s sudden rise to fame has been a revelation and raises the question of where he has been all this while. This example exposes one of the mysteries of Test cricket: do some selectors know what they should be looking for,” he added.
Petersen managed to score 276 runs in the series against India and he was handed the Player of the Series award for his performances.
“Petersen is in his prime, at 28, but he has only played five Tests. Despite lacking experience he has all the requirements of a Test No. 3, including a wide range of shots that he is prepared to play, plus a solid defence. So why is he only playing now? Sometimes players deserve an opportunity on potential and temperament alone and this is where good selection stands out,” said Chappell.
“There’s often a temptation to choose gritty players and there are times when this can be a wise selection. On the other hand, fans expect to see a few aggressive young players selected, and when these players come off, they provide great entertainment,” he added.
Chappell also talked about how good selectors have a knack of seeking out talent at a very raw stage and there is a solid reason to give selectors more importance rather then coaches.
“A good Test selector is capable of including both considerations in his choices and that is why they are highly regarded. When it comes to financial rewards, cricket should start valuing selection more highly than coaching; it would make a pleasant and worthwhile change,” said Chappell.
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