Amidst plenty of anticipation, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday (April 15) named Team India’s 15-member squad for the ICC World Cup 2019, slated to be held in England and Wales.
The MSK Prasad-led selection committee picked KL Rahul as a reserved opener while Dinesh Karthik was preferred over Rishabh Pant as a back-up wicketkeeper to MS Dhoni. All-rounder Vijay Shankar has also made the cut in the Virat Kohli-led side for the mega event.
Commenting on Pant’s snub, chief selector MSK Prasad told reporters: "Definitely a case where we debated in length. We all were in unison that either Pant or DK will come in only when Mahi is injured. In an important game wicket keeping is also important. That's the reason we went with Dinesh Karthik."
Talking about Rahul’s role, Prasad said Karnataka batsman will be the third opener in the team and if situation demands the team management might try him in the middle-order.
Team India’s No. 4 conundrum in the 50-over format has been a topic of discussion for some time now and the selectors shown faith on Shankar after trying few players for the spot.
"After the Champions Trophy, we tried quite a few people at No.4. We gave a few more chances to Rayudu. What Vijay Shankar brings is three dimensional. We are looking at him at no. 4 to begin with," the chief selector said.
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 starts on May 30 with South Africa taking on hosts England, while the two-time World champions India begin their campaign on June 5 against the Proteas at Southampton.
Team India’s squad for CWC 2019:
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammad Shami
(With TOI inputs)