The Indian selection panel on Monday announced India’s 15-man squad for the upcoming Cricket World Cup 2019. Virat Kohli will lead India’s campaign in the prestigious tournament while Rohit Sharma was announced as his deputy. The Indian team, which was touted as one of the favourites to lift the cup, boasts of a good mix of youth and experience. Despite middle-order woes for the men in blue, the team has a might fine balance with quality players even outside the starting XI.
While most of the players pick themselves in the squad, all the talk was around the combination that Kohli and co. might want to go with in the World Cup. However, the management and the selection committee decided to stick with three seamers and two spinners along with three all-rounders in Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Vijay Shankar.
While Shankar was given the nod ahead of few other fringe players, here’s a look at 3 players who were unlucky to miss India’s WC squad:
#3 Khaleel Ahmed
After receiving the backing of skipper Kohli as a possible option as India’s third seamer, Khaleel Ahmed was left out of the Indian squad for the series against Australia at home. His inconsistency with the ball in his first overseas tours to New Zealand and Australia, saw him on the sidelines for a major part of 2019.
Even Mohammad Shami’s return to form with the white ball ensured that the left-arm quick was longer a part of India’s ODI setup. Making his India debut in the Asia Cup last year, Khaleel did reasonably well in the limited opportunities at the highest level. However, when selectors sat to announce the squad for the World Cup in England, Khaleel wasn’t even in the scheme of things for India as the panel overlooked any possibility for an extra seamer.
It seems that his World Cup dream is delayed by four years that would demand him to be consistent and raring to go any moment.
#2 Rishabh Pant
Touted as possibly India’s X-factor for their World campaign, selectors have clearly weighed on experience over youth after Dinesh Karthik was given the nod ahead of young Rishabh Pant as a backup wicket-keeper option.
Pant, who has often found himself at the receiving end for not being able to finish games for his side, might feel unlucky to miss the bus for the World Cup. It was a straight toss-up between the two wicket-keeper batsmen as selectors invested faith in Karthik to be their man for the World cup.
With loads of talent and his numerous exploits in the shorter versions of the game, Pant could have been a solid option to provide lower-order impetus at the back end of the innings. However, in recent past, even Karthik has been instrumental in donning the finisher’s role for India as well as for his franchise in the IPL.
#1 Ambati Rayudu
Being one of the most likely No.4 to represent India at the World Cup, Ambati Rayudu’s form off late has forced him to be left out of the final 15. After a good run of play in the ODI series against New Zealand and Australia earlier this year, Rayudu was assumed to be a sure starter for India in the mega-tournament.
However, his dip in form and the inability to notch up consistent performances in ODIs despite regular opportunities, he was even left out of the last two ODIs against Australia in India’s last International campaign before the World Cup.
It was harsh on the middle-order batsman who was India’s highest run-getter in the triumph against New Zealand to be ruled out after a string of few low scores. However, the 33-year old has himself to blame after he has failed to impress the selectors with his awful run even in the first half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) where was demoted from the top-order to feature as a middle-order batsman.