Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has missed out on being selected for the World Cup, but batsman Lokesh Rahul made the cut and is part of the country’s 15-man squad.
In addition to Pant, batsman Ambati Rayudu was also overlooked.
Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad and the rest of the selection committee met with captain Virat Kohli at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai today, but most of the spots in the squad had been selected in advance.
However, there was some discussion over who would fill the number four spot in the line-up and Pant and Rayudu’s names were in the mix.
However, the selectors opted to put their faith in Karthik, while Rahul is likely to be a back-up opener.
Prasad noted that Vijay Shankar could fill the number four spot, even though he has never batted that high in his international career thus far.
“After the Champions Trophy [in mid-2017], we have tried quite a few middle-order batsmen, which also includes Dinesh Karthik at that order, and we also tried Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey. We did give a few more chances to Rayudu but what Vijay Shankar offers is three dimensions,” Prasad was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“Apart from his batting, he can bowl. If the conditions are suitable, overcast, which we might encounter in England, he might bowl a bit and he’s a fantastic fielder. That’s the thing that went in favour of Vijay Shankar. We are looking at him at No. 4 and with Dinesh Karthik and Kedar Jadhav in, we have plenty of options at that No. 4 slot right now.”
Explaining why Karthik was picked over Pant, Prasad said it was due to his experience of being able to perform in pressure situations.
“One of them [Pant or Karthik] will play in the XI [if] MS [Dhoni] is injured,” he said. “So under such situations, in crunch matches, who is the best guy who can handle the pressure? That is the reason that went in favour of Dinesh Karthik. Pant is full of talent. There’s a lot of time for him. It’s just unfortunate that he’s missed out. Under pressure, we have seen Dinesh Karthik finishing matches. That scored for him.”
Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will make up the spin line-up, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are the specialist seamers in the side.
Shankar and Hardik Pandya are both fast bowling all-rounders.
However, while Prasad confirmed that four more pace bowlers will “travel with the squad”, he didn’t name them.
“Khaleel Ahmed’s name also came up for discussion,” he said. “Along with him, we also discussed Navdeep Saini. So they will be in and around, and if the need arises, definitely one among them will get picked.”
India will begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.
India’s World Cup Squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami