Mental strength as important as talent - Srikkanth

Former Indian opener Kris Srikkanth, who was appointed the new chairman of selectors on Saturday, has said his long-term goal was to identify the best team possible for the 2011 World Cup, while his immediate priority was to choose the best side for the series against Australia.

The series against Australia gets underway on October 9 in Bangalore and follows a 2-1 defeat in Sri Lanka where several senior members of the Test squad struggled for form. Srikkanth, however, said that the "mental strength" of the seniors would be critical against Australia.

"S Badrinath, Rohit Sharma and a few others have the talent but it is not ability alone that makes a player tick at the highest level," Srikkanth told Deccan Chronicle. "Mental strength is critical and cannot be taught, it has to be within, and the likes of Sachin [Tendulkar], Rahul [Dravid] and Anil [Kumble] have shown the way over a good period of time. It will be important to groom the youngsters under them.

"An eye for the future is equally important. Hard decisions might have to be taken in the future. The current Test team is one of the best India has ever had and it will not be easy replacing them."

The previous selection committee, headed by Dilip Vengsarkar, picked different squads for the Test and ODI formats, a policy which Srikkanth said was "spot on" because it required "different skill sets to excel in each form".

"With Twenty20 also coming into the mix it is crucial to identify talent for each form and nurture them," Srikkanth said. "The team has had some good results in the recent past and it's important to keep the good work going.

"I thank the BCCI for having faith in me and I am sure this new committee will meet the high expectations," Srikkanth said. "As a selector my accountability is even greater and I will strive hard and ensure the best Indian team takes field in every single game."