Indian National Cricket team, on April 15 (Monday), have announced their 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup. England and Wales will host the 12th edition of the quadrennial tournament starting from May 30. The selectors rang a few surprises while naming the squad. They picked Vijay Shankar ahead of Ambati Rayudu while Dinesh Karthik came into the team as the second wicket-keeper. While there have been wide-ranging discussions over the selection, Indian skipper Virat Kohli has finally settled all the debates.
Former Indian cricketer MSK Prasad – the current selection panel head, offered his rationale while naming the squad. Speaking on Vijay Shankar’s inclusion, Prasad said that the Tamil Nadu all-rounder is three-dimensional and can contribute in all the departments. He also added that there was nothing against Ambati Rayudu; however, there was something which went in favour of Shankar.
Shankar or Rayudu? Kohli answers
Soon after the announcement of the squad, former cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Gautam Gambhir came in support of Rayudu and Pant. While Gavaskar felt that Pant had done enough to be in the squad, Gambhir said that the experience of Rayudu was enough to get him a ticket to England. Later on, BCCI added both of them along with Navdeep Saini, Ishant Sharma, and Axar Patel in the list of standbys for the marquee tournament.
While the selection conundrum looks to be a never-ending debate, Indian skipper Virat Kohli seemed content with the squad he has at his disposal. He echoed the voice of MSK Prasad and backed Vijay Shankar to succeed in the World Cup.
“Vijay Shankar brings in a lot to the team and hence, I am delighted to have him,” Kohli said to India Today.
Meanwhile, Vijay Shankar has impressed in whatever limited opportunities he has got at the international level. He impressed with his batting in New Zealand playing at the top-order. In the ongoing Indian Premier League, he has batted up in the order, for Sunrisers Hyderabad and has looked in excellent touch. However, the only thing that will go against him is his inexperience at the highest level.
India will begin their ICC World Cup campaign on June 5 against South Africa at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground in Southampton.