Former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri has revealed that he was not consulted by the selection team when they were picking the playing XI for the 2019 ODI World Cup semifinal against New Zealand.
The playing XI that was put out on the field was considered extremely bizarre since India had three wicket-keepers in their ranks – MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, and Dinesh Karthik. In the leadup to the tournament, Ambati Rayudu was confirmed to be India’s No.4 but he wasn’t even selected in the squad.
“I had no say in that (team selection). But I wasn’t okay with three wicketkeepers being picked for the World Cup. Either Ambati or Shreyas could’ve come in. What was the logic in having MS Dhoni, Rishabh [Pant], and Dinesh [Karthik] altogether? But I never interfered with the selectors’ work, except when I was asked for feedback or as part of a general discussion,” Shastri told Times of India.
India went on to lose the game to New Zealand and crashed out of another ICC tournament in the semifinals. It was Dhoni’s last international match as well and he went on to retire from international cricket in August 2020.
“Jasprit Bumrah is a quick learner and has a good attitude” – Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri also praised Indian pacer, Jasprit Bumrah, who has risen through the ranks to become the team’s best all-format bowler. Shastri had earlier claimed that he was the one who kickstarted Bumrah’s career by giving him the opportunity to play in India’s 2018 tour of South Africa.
“Cape Town was on my mind almost two months before we had landed there. Me and (Bharat) Arun were at a function in Kolkata during Durga Puja when I called Jasprit. It was September 2017, and I told him to be ‘ready’ for SA. That guy couldn’t believe – all he said was ‘playing Test cricket is my dream’.”
“The spell he bowled in the second innings at Cape Town – that’s just what we had expected him to do. And that was just the start. He’s a quick learner and has a good attitude. The only other bowler in India who took the same amount of time to declare himself to the world – that here’s a great – was Kapil Dev,” Shastri mentioned.
India will be touring South Africa once again this year where Bumrah will be going in as a much more experienced pacer and perhaps India’s trump card.