Former Indian batsman and outgoing selector Devang Gandhi has opened up on the challenges of choosing squads according to everyone’s preferences. The discussion surrounded the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Ambati Rayudu for the upcoming tour of Australia and 2019 World Cup respectively. Devang Gandhi admitted that the exclusion of Ambati Rayudu for the marquee ICC event did not feel justified.
India’s ODI batting line-up had faced the problem of number four batsman which they had not addressed seriously. While the men in blue finished the group stage of the 2019 World Cup at the top and looked favourites to lift the trophy, it did not happen so. The much-vaunted batting line-up collapsed in a modest chase against New Zealand in the semi-final and there was no batsman to save the day as the top-order had a rare off day.
Ambati Rayudu, who seemed a promising prospect for the number four batting spot, was ignored for the ten-team event. Instead, the selectors opted for Vijay Shankar, who did not even play all the matches in the competition and the rotation continued for the number four batting slot. Rayudu performed reasonably well in IPL 2020, making the critics think that the selectors made a blunder by not choosing him for the World Cup. Fortunately, the national team has a competent candidate in Shreyas Iyer at number four in ODIs currently.
Ambati Rayudu’s reactions were justified: Devang Gandhi
Devang Gandhi acknowledged that when picked the squads for the World Cup, they seemed they got it right; however, later felt Ambati Rayudu’s presence might have helped. Devang admitted that the failure at the semi-final made the right-handed batsman’s absence a significant talking point. He added that the 35-year old had every right to feel agitated at his non-selection, taking a dig at the selectors and announcing his retirement.
“Yes that was a mistake, but then we are humans too. At that time we seemed to have hit the right combination, but later we realised Rayudu’s presence might have helped. Actually, India had one bad day in office during the World Cup and that’s why Rayudu’s absence became such a big talking point. Apart from that one match, India had an excellent tournament. I can understand Rayudu’s angst and his reactions were justified,” Gandhi told Times of India.