In the wake of India’s shocking exit from the World Cup, former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has questioned the omission of Ambati Rayudu from the World Cup squad. Ambati Rayudu was looking set to be India’s number four at the tournament. However, the selectors instead went for Vijay Shankar who made his debut in January this year.
Rayudu did have a poor home series against Australia but overall he had done reasonably well since returning to the team last year. He performed well in the Asia Cup before scoring a century against West Indies at home. His 90-run knock in the testing conditions of New Zealand still remains one of the best knocks played by the Indians this year.
And as if that snub was not enough, the selectors did not even name him in the squad after India lost two players due to injury. Instead, the MSK Prasad-led panel picked Rishabh Pant and Mayank Agarwal to replace Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay Shankar respectively. What made everyone more surprised was that Rayudu was in the standby list while uncapped Agarwal was nowhere in contention for the World Cup spot.
India’s fragile middle-order did come back to haunt them as they lost the semifinal by 18 runs. The top-order had a rare failure and the middle-order failed to stand up to the challenge. Sunil Gavaskar has now questioned the decision of leaving out Rayudu and also expressed his surprise over Agarwal’s inclusion.
“Let’s face, there have been a lot of baffling decisions over the last couple of years. Ambati Rayudu for example – he should have been brought here,” Sunil Gavaskar said while speaking on Star Sports.
“Why and how can you explain to me you bring in a Mayank Agarwal? He hasn’t played a single ODI as yet. He just came before the Sri Lanka game, the last league game, (so) you want to him to make his debut in a semifinals or a final in case a slot was open? Why not bring in an Ambati Rayudu, who is your standby? Very disappointing to see what happened yesterday,” he added.
Rayudu, meanwhile, announced retirement from international cricket after the World Cup snub.