One of the big debates in the long build up to Team India’s 2019 World Cup selection was Dinesh Karthik vs Rishabh Pant as the back-up wicket-keeper for MS Dhoni. With the team announced and Karthik getting the nod, the discussion is now likely to get more intense. While there were many backing Pant for his eccentric ways, which have gained him decent amount of success in a short international career, common sense prevailed in the end one can conclude.
While there is no denying that Pant with his exuberance and x-factor could have offered a lot to the team in England, his inexperience going into a mega tournament like the World Cup would have gone against him. Karthik, on the other hand, while not having done too many extraordinary things, has the experience to fall back upon. He has played a few good finishing knocks, with the one in the Nidahas Trophy final still fresh in mind. More significantly, he is better behind the stumps in comparison to Pant, a factor which definitely helped tilting the scales in his favour.
Another interesting selection was that of Vijay Shankar ahead of Ambati Rayudu. Again, this is a risk the Indian selectors have taken for while Shankar has done reasonably well with the bat in tense situations, he has hardly made an impression with the ball. That said, Shankar displayed a good attitude and willingness to take on challenges, an aspect of his game which has impressed many. This is one of the key reasons why he leapfrogged into contention for a World Cup spot. Rayudu, of course, did not help his case with some poor performances of late.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is one more notable inclusion in the squad even as his Test spin-twin Ravichandran Ashwin did not find a place. Till a couple of years back, Jadeja was not in contention for a World Cup squad. However, he has grabbed the opportunities received due to injuries to others. Jadeja’s brilliant fielding is something the selectors would have found difficult to ignore. If he comes off with the bat and ball, Jadeja can definitely be the x-factor India are looking for in the big tournament, and he could make an impact even with both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the squad.
Some may consider Umesh Yadav unlucky to not make the cut. However, the fast bowler’s economy rate is something which definitely goes against him. Also, with both Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul getting the nod, it was difficult for the selectors to fit in Yadav. Overall, not too many surprises, and one must say the selectors have done a good job.