Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has admitted that India have made a huge mistake by leaving wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant out of their World Cup squad.
The Indian selectors opted to choose Dinesh Karthik ahead of Pant for the showpiece event.
Explaining why this was the case when India’s World Cup squad was announced, chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said: “One of them [Pant or Karthik] will play in the XI [if] MS [Dhoni] is injured. 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.”
Pant is currently playing for the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he has scored 336 runs in 11 games, which includes two half-centuries, at an average of 37.33 and a strike-rate of 163.10.
“India have a strong bench. Pant is a very good batsman. He has been batting very well in the IPL,” Ajmal told Sport360. “He has brought new life in the Indian team. Pant should have been picked as a batsman. But the selectors must have spotted some weakness.”
India will begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.