With India left with just one ODI series ahead of the World Cup starting 30 May, BCCI’s Chief Selector MSK Prasad has said that the core team for the all-important ICC tournament has been fixed. However, there's still some space left in the 15-member squad, for which Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar and Ajinkya Rahane are in contention.
“Like most other teams, we have made up our minds with regard to the core team that will figure in the World Cup,” Prasad told Times of India in an interview.
"“Undoubtedly, he (Pant) is in contention. A healthy headache. The progression of Rishabh in the last one year is phenomenal across the formats. What we actually felt is he needs a bit of maturity now, gain more experience. That is the reason we have included him in India A series wherever possible.”" - MSK Prasad to ESPNCricinfo
Shankar, who made his debut in the ODI series against New Zealand in the absence of captain Virat Kohli, has also found himself in contention after his performance. He scored 45 (off 64 balls) in the fifth and final one-dayer at Wellington, and followed it up with a total of 84 runs in the three T20Is, including a 43.
"In whatever opportunities he has got, Vijay Shankar has shown the skill sets required at this level. We have been grooming him through India A tours in the last two years. But we will have to see where he can fit in the dynamics of this team," Prasad told ESPNCricinfo.
Regarding Ajinkya Rahane, who has been playing for India A against the England Lions, the Chairman of Selectors said, "In domestic cricket, he has been in form. He is very much in contention for the World Cup".
On the Middle-Order Conundrum
On the middle-order conundrum that has been plaguing the Indian line-up, the chairman of selectors told TOI that the past few series had helped them “seal those spots which were otherwise a bit of a concern” for the World Cup.
Prasad said that while KL Rahul’s form has "become a big cause of concern”, he too is still in the race for the tournament in England this year.
After scores of 13, 42 and 0 in the one-dayers against England Lions, Rahul had smashed an 89 off 192 balls in the unofficial Test in Wayana.
(With inputs from ESPNCricinfo and TOI)
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