‘Conservative’ would be one way to describe India’s 15-man squad for the ICC World Cup this summer that was announced on Monday afternoon in Mumbai.
While 12 members, including KL Rahul, were automatic picks, the big decision was to be made between Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik for the reserve keeper’s spot, between picking Ravindra Jadeja or a fourth seamer and on who would be India’s number four batsman.
Going for experience, the selection panel picked Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja while Vijay Shankar will bat at number four this summer.
"“It’s definitely a case we debated a length. In unison we all felt that either Rishabh Pant or DK will only come into the playing XI if Mahi is injured. At that juncture, if it’s an important game, wicket-keeping also matters. So that’s the reason we went ahead of Dinesh Karthik otherwise Rishabh Pant was almost there.”" - MSK Prasad, Chairman of Selectors - BCCI
Karthik, the oldest Indian player in terms of international debut (three months before Mahendra Singh Dhoni in September 2004), was also part of the Indian squad during its disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign. He, however, missed the bus in 2011 and the 2015 editions.
In the squad that was announced Monday, Dhoni will be playing his fourth, expected to be the final, 50-over World Cup. Kohli will play his third edition while Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were all a part of the 2015 edition.
Shankar, with his "three-dimensional qualities", took the slot which was speculated to go to Ambati Rayudu before his dip in form in the home series against Australia last month.
"We have been planning soon after the completion of the Champions Trophy (2017) for this. But let me tell you that in the last month or so, there have been a couple of players who have really cropped up like Vijay Shankar," Chairman of Selectors MSK Prasad said.
Ravindra Jadeja's all-round skills and his ability to be restrictive on dry wickets came into consideration during his selection in the 15.
"In the last one and half years, it is these two wristies (wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav), who have won us the games but there might be situations where, you require an additional all-rounder in the playing 11, (this is) where Jadeja comes in," Prasad explained.
"And in the second part of the tournament, when the wickets will be more dry, we felt Jadeja will be handy." With Hardik Pandya and Shankar to perform the duties of a combined fourth pacer, there was no place for an additional specialist speedster in the line-up.
Pandya, having missed the series against Australia, due to issues with his core is back and fits in as the all-rounder who will also be looked at as the finisher.
India’s Full Squad: ICC World Cup
- Rohit Sharma (vc)
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Virat Kohli (C)
- Vijay Shankar
- MS Dhoni
- KL Rahul
- Kedar Jadhav
- Dinesh Karthik
- Yuzvendra Chahal
- Kuldeep Yadav
- Hardik Pandya
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
- Mohammad Shami
- Ravindra Jadeja
The World Cup starts on 30 May with a fixture between hosts England and South Africa in London. India’s opening game will be on 5 June against South Africa in Southampton.
Virat Kohli’s men will be playing two warm-up matches before the big tournament, against New Zealand on 25 May and then against Bangladesh on 28 May.
Australia are the defending champions this time around after winning the 2015 edition on home soil.
. Read more on Cricket by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsMatch Recap: Mumbai Indians Defeat RCB by 5 Wickets . Read more on Cricket by The Quint.