The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has finally made the much-awaited announcement of the final 15-member Indian squad for the upcoming 2019 World Cup. The all-important 50-overs mega event will be kicking off with the opening game between hosts England and South Africa scheduled to be held on May 30 in London. While the Virat Kohli-led Indian brigade will be also be starting its World Cup campaign against the Proteas on June 5 in Southampton.
Shankar and Karthik make the cut; Pant and Rayudu miss the flight
The most headlining point from the squad announced is surely the selection of the duo comprising of Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik who have earned the dream opportunity and most importantly ahead of Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant. Rayudu missed the England flight due to his recent consistent failures during the home series against Australia where he was dropped after the first three ODIs, while Pant failed to make the cut due to lack of experience.
Indian chief selector MSK Prasad revealed that the selection had a long discussion on the reserve wicket-keeper’s selection. He noted that Karthik has been given the final call as he gives more confidence as experience both as a batsman and keeper.
"Definitely a case where we debated (at) length. We all (agreed) that either Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik will come in only when (Dhoni) is injured. In an important game, wicket keeping is also important. That's the reason we went with Dinesh Karthik," quoted MSK Prasad.
The selectors have covered all the bases in this squad as the batting gets the much-needed boost with the inclusions of KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik. However, the major responsibility of the batting department will surely rest on the shoulders of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. Former Indian captain MS Dhoni along with the pair of Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya will be crucial in the role of finishing the innings.
In the bowling department, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah are the three fast bowlers with Shankar and Hardik as the seam-bowling all-rounders. The trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will handle the spin bowling duties.
Shankar to bat at number four
"After the Champions Trophy (2017), we tried quite a few people in that position. We did give a few more chances to Rayudu. Vijay Shankar is three dimensional. We are looking at him at no. 4 to begin with. We also have Dinesh Karthik and Kedar Jadhav. It's not that anything that went against (Rayudu), it's that a few things went for (Vijay Shankar)," concluded MSK Prasad.
India’s 15-member squad for the 2019 World Cup
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik.