Amidst the IPL heat, the BCCI selectors have announced a strong, 15-member squad to represent the country in the World Cup to be played in England this June. Though a majority of the names threw no surprise, the non-inclusion of Ambatti Rayudu and young wicket keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant did surprise many. Tamilnadu had a lot to cheer as all-rounder Vijay Shankar and veteran Dinesh Karthik were drafted to the side. The selectors have kept faith in three seamers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jusprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami.
Pant and Rayudu’s exclusion created quite a stir While Sunil Gavaskar questioned Pant’s omission, Gautham Gambhir wondered why Rayudu was not considered. However, many feel that Rayudu was given an extended rope, but the selectors perhaps went ahead with Vijay Shankar for his all-round abilities. The Tamilnadu star can bat, bowl and add strength to the team with his fielding skills. Vijay Shankar has performed well in the limited opportunities that he has got in the one-day side so far, scoring 165 runs from 9 matches at an average of 33 and a strike rate of over 96. Apart from his ability with the bat, Shankar is also a handy medium fast bowler with a decent economy rate of 5.61.
What must have worked against Pant is his wicket-keeping abilities. In an important game, wicket-keeping is also important. That’s the reason the selectors have gone with Dinesh Karthik. He is considered a safe pair of hands behind the wickets. Though Pant is seen as a dangerous batsman in the shorter form of the game, yet he seems to lack patience. In the few matches for Delhi, fans were disappointed at Pant throwing his wicket away when he was needed the most. Dinesh Karthik had finished a few matches for India and his heroics in Nidhahas Trophy finals can never be forgotten.