Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the much anticipated 15-man Indian squad for the World Cup2019 in England and Wales, starting on May 30.
There were no big surprises as selectors preferred players who have proved their worth in tricky situations over the years. India will begin their campaign on June 5 against South Africa. As the Indian team gears up for the mega event, here are four key points to ponder upon post the announcement.
Ambati Rayudu out, Vijay Shankar in
The selectors made a wise decision by picking all-rounder Vijay Shankar over out of form Ambati Rayudu. Shankar’s selection was made considering his fairytale journey in competitive cricket after a poor start to his career in the Nidahas Trophy (2018).
Four months ago, he was not even in the fray for World Cup selection. But thanks to his destiny, he was drafted in the ODI squad for Australia and New Zealand tour in the wake of Hardik Pandya’s suspension due to off-field controversy.
Though Shankar got just one ODI in Australia, he proved his credentials in New Zealand. After a top-order collapse in Wellington, coming at 18/4, Shankar showcased his sound batting technique and maturity to adapt to the situation to pull India out of danger zone. His innings impress everyone and in the process, made a strong case for himself.
In the ongoing IPL, Shankar showed that he could be India’s No. 4 as he has been consistent for Sunrisers Hyderabad. At the same time, his slow medium pace will be crucial for Team India considering the wet English conditions where the ball swings viciously.
On the other hand, Rayudu, who was the front-runner for No. 4 slot, missed out the bus due to poor batting display in the home ODI series against Australia and in the IPL.
Karthik pips Pant
What Indian selectors want is more utility players and versatility in the team. Keeping this ideology in mind, MSK Prasad led BCCI selection committee picked crafty wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik over younger counterpart, Rishabh Pant.
Yes, Karthik got the benefit of his experience and current form. The right-handed batsman has proved his worth as a finisher over the years, and he holds the ability to change the complexion of a match singlehandedly. Remember the Nidahas Trophy (2018) final against Bangladesh?
Apart from a finisher’s role, Karthik’s standard of wicket-keeping is way better than Pant. So, the selectors chose him as a stand-by for regular wicket-keeper-batsman MS Dhoni.
There is another valid logic behind picking Karthik for the World Cup 2019. The right-handed batsman can be used as a floater. He can play the role of a finisher as well as can fill the void at No. 4 if the need be.
"Well, it's definitely a case where we have debated in length. And all of, in unison, we felt that either Rishabh Pant or DK will come into the playing XI if Mahi is injured," said Prasad.
"So at that juncture, if it is a crucial match like quarter-finals or semi-finals or an important game, wicketkeeping also matters. That's the only reason we went with Dinesh Karthik. Otherwise, Rishabh Pant was almost there," he added.
No. 4 batting slot
The committee has left the slot wide open, and it is up to the team management to decide whom to send, according to the situation.
Kedar Jadhav's availability means that the team can give him the role as he can build an innings with his sound batting technique. At the same time, India can use him to bat down the order whenever required and Shankar can replace him.
One can’t rule out Karthik for this position as well. However, the best person suited for this role is Shankar as he has always been a top-order batsman for his state team Tamil Nadu.
Ravindra Jadeja over a fourth pacer
While Australia, earlier in the day, selected five proper pacers for the World Cup, India went in with just three – Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami.
It is understood that India will use only two out of three in the XI, as Pandya will be the third pacer. Jadhav’s uncanny bowling action could become India’s trump card in the World Cup as he has often troubled the batsmen.
In the spin department, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are must-haves given their recent form in the limited overs format.
Jadeja's ability to contribute in all three departments has made him a preferred choice over a fourth seamer. The left-arm spinner, who is known for his quick bowling, will get assistance from the pitch and he can turn out to be a game-changer for India in the marquee event.
(Featured Image: FB/Indian Cricket Team)
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