The ICC World Cup 2019 is just a month and a half away and the excitement for the grand event is increasing day by day. India announced their 15 man World Cup on 15th of April and that means we are officially on the road to England.
Before going on with this slideshow, take a look at India's squad:
India’s squad for the ICC #CWC19 announced: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MSD (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd Shami— BCCI (@BCCI) April 15, 2019
There are so many talking points from the team that is announced by the BCCI and clearly, they have preferred experience to youth. The biggest debate has been the selection of Dinesh Karthik over Rishabh Pant and also the selection of Vijay Shankar to play at number 4 has raised quite a few eyebrows.
Rightly so, as Shankar has been selected over Ambati Rayudu, a man who was destined to play at number 4 for India just a couple of months ago. Also, Virat Kohli has preferred to go with only 3 front line fast bowlers and that means he expects the wickets in England to be dry.
Khaleel Ahmad looked like that fourth front line seamer but he too had to miss out. Some players were also very unlucky to miss out and here are three such batsmen who would have felt hard done by after not being selected in the World Cup 2019 squad for India.
#3 Ajinkya Rahane
The story of Ajinkya Rahane in ODI cricket hasn't been a good one and it might be said he hasn't been treated very well by the selectors. Over the years, Rahane has batted everywhere for India as he has opened and even been tested in the middle order.
Opening the batting, Rahane has been brilliant but his luck is such that Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan do not seem to slip up at the top of the order for India. Also, when he got an opportunity to bat at number 4 in that South Africa tour, he looked good but somehow he wasn't given a chance again, which was baffling.
Someone like Rahane can play in multiple positions and he would have really come handy in the World Cup squad but KL Rahul has been preferred to him. However, Rahul has had more chances than Rahane to seal his place in the XI but the former clearly hasn't done that.
#2 Rishabh Pant
This has been the biggest debating point - who should be the second choice wicketkeeper to MS Dhoni and the selectors answered that by selecting Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant would really feel hard done by after missing out on the ticket to England.
Pant hasn't really been brilliant in ODI cricket for India but on his day, he is a match winner and he would have added that much required firepower to the middle order. The southpaw is a hard-hitting left hander and barring Hardik Pandya, no one in that squad is more capable of hitting sixes at will than Pant.
Also, on the small grounds and flat decks on offer at England, Pant would have clearly flourished but the selectors and Kohli preferred the experience of Karthik. Pant shouldn't feel let down after this as he still is one of the most talented batsmen in Indian cricket right now.
#1 Ambati Rayudu
How times change, don't they? Just a few months ago in that West Indies tour of India, it looked like Kohli has finally found a number 4 he could rely on and it was Ambati Rayudu. But then he sees a little dip in form and boom, Vijay Shankar takes his place in the World Cup squad.
The 33-year-old didn't have the best time in the recent home series against Australia and he was also dropped from the last two games. His performances haven't improved in the IPL either and although IPL isn't considered as a criterion for ODI selection, form matters the most.
But still, Rayudu just had one bad series at number 4 and the selection of Shankar over him might raise questions. The latter has the highest score of 46 in ODI cricket and that canot easily be justified over a batsman whose career average in the format is 47.06.
Clearly, selectors have made a bold call in selecting Shankar over Rayudu and one can only hope it pays off.
Who do you think was unlucky to miss out on in the Indian squad? Sound off in the comments.