Team India for World Cup 2019: Five former selectors pick their squads

All-rounder Vijay Shankar makes the cut while out-of-favour batsman Ajinkya Rahane too finds a mention as former selectors choose their respective World Cup squads.

World Cup 2019: Time to get the thinking caps on.   -  AFP

With the 2019 World Cup around the corner, it is time for skipper Virat Kohli and the selectors to put their thinking caps on and pick the best 15 to represent the side during the marquee event in England.

Sportstar caught up with five former national selectors who chose their respective squads.

Roger Binny

Former national selector Roger Binny feels that young Rajasthan pacer Khaleel Ahmed is still not ready for the World Cup.   -  AFP

 

In England, the bowlers will have the final say and that's why a lot will depend on how the pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar performs.

At the moment, Bumrah is certainly India’s No. 1 pacer, and he will be very effective in the English conditions. Even Hardik Pandya’s presence will bolster the bowling attack.

I personally feel that young Rajasthan pacer Khaleel Ahmed is still not ready for the World Cup and he should be given a bit more time to turn into a finished product.

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For the last few months, there have been talks whether spinner Kuldeep Yadav will be able to make it count, and I feel he will reap benefits. While I will pick both him and Yuzvendra Chahal in the squad, they need to be rotated depending on the wicket.

In the batting department, I will choose K. L. Rahul as the opener over Shikhar Dhawan. He can be very effective in building an opening stand with Rohit Sharma. In the middle order, Kedar Jadhav can be used as a specialist batsman. The conditions won’t be easy to bat on, but Kedar has the potential to deliver at the big stage. I am also quite happy with the way Vijay Shankar fared in international cricket and he should feature in the squad for his all-round abilities.

While Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be the first choice as wicketkeeper-batsman, I will choose Rishabh Pant as the second option. Pant is a very good batsman and this format suits him better than Dinesh Karthik.

My pick: Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul, Virat Kohli (captain), Ambati Rayudu, M.S. Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar. (I will keep the 15th slot open. An all-rounder, who can bowl for a few overs, can be considered here, depending on his form)

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Ashok Malhotra

Ashok Malhotra prefers Umesh Yadav as the fourth seamer in English conditions.   -  S Sudarshan

 

The core team is more or less settled, so there won’t be too many changes up the order. But as the tournament will be played in England, I will go with four pacers. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah will be the top three choices, I will pick Umesh Yadav as the fourth option.

The reason is simple. Umesh has the pace, and whenever he has been given a chance, he has proven his class. He is tried and tested. For the last few months, there were talks that Khaleel Ahmed could be India’s surprise element in the World Cup. But I don’t think he is ready yet for the showpiece event. That’s why I will pick the vastly experienced Umesh over Khaleel.

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the automatic choice as the wicketkeeper-batsman, I will go for Rishabh Pant as the second option. It is true that Dinesh Karthik has performed reasonably well, but Pant is a game-changer with the bat. He has the ability to change the course of a match and he can be extremely effective in the World Cup.

Otherwise, the side looks well-balanced, and with captain Virat Kohli leading from the front, India stands a very good chance.

My pick: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, K. L. Rahul, Virat Kohli (captain), Ambati Rayudu, M. S. Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav.

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Sanjay Jagdale

Sanjay Jagdale reckons Ajinkya Rahane's "determination and ability to anchor the innings will be extremely crucial for India in the World Cup."   -  PTI

 

India appears to be a balanced side ahead of the World Cup. The core team is settled and most of the players are back in form – something that’s necessary going into the tournament. But I will make a couple of changes to strengthen the side. Firstly, instead of Ambati Rayudu, I will pick Ajinkya Rahane at No. 4.

It is true that Rayudu has proven his mettle at the fourth spot, but in the English conditions, it is quite challenging to play a long innings. It is necessary to have someone who can not only tackle the challenging conditions, but can also bat for 50 long overs. That’s where Rahane comes in. His determination and ability to anchor the innings will be extremely crucial for India in the World Cup.

READ| I deserve a consistent run in ODIs, says Rahane

Secondly, in the bowling department, I will go for Ishant Sharma as the fourth pace option. I will choose Ishant over Umesh Yadav for the very simple reason that Ishant is more experienced and he may come in handy in the cool confines of England. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah will spearhead the pace attack, Ishant could provide crucial breakthroughs. That apart, the side has some really talented players who will be hoping to make the most of the opportunity.

My pick: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, M. S. Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav, Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya.

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Anshuman Gaekwad

Anshuman Gaekwad: "You have Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, and four fast bowlers, two wicketkeepers and three opening batsmen and the middle order. It is a balanced side."   -  AP

 

We are playing in June-July, which is summer time. Last time, it was very hot (when India toured). You don’t know what the weather is going to be like, whether spinners can come into play. You have Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, and four fast bowlers, two wicketkeepers and three opening batsmen and the middle order. It is a balanced side.

I personally feel the team is well settled. This combination has worked very well and they have won tournaments overseas, too. This is the team I am looking at for the future as well. That’s why I have not considered Dinesh Karthik. M. S. Dhoni is in because of his plus points. Dinesh is a stop-gap arrangement, but looking at the future, he maybe or may not be in the team.

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Vijay Shankar may come in. I feel Khaleel Ahmed is still raw for a tournament like the World Cup.

I am looking at Kedar Jadhav, who can also bowl. He picks up wickets, too, and then you have Rishabh Pant. Looking at the One-Dayers, he can be used as a batsman and not only as a wicketkeeper. Ambati Rayudu has also done well. We were worried about K.L. Rahul’s form, but he has started getting runs.

READ| Can Jadeja make it to World Cup squad?

The World Cup squad should have players who are relatively experienced. Otherwise, there are players like Shubman Gill, who is a great prospect for the future. But one should not take chances in a tournament that comes once in four years.

My pick: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K. L. Rahul, Virat Kohli (captain), Ambati Rayudu, M. S. Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

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Madan Lal

Madan Lal: "If India needs bowlers, the selectors can perhaps pick Vijay Shankar."   -  AFP

 

If India needs bowlers, the selectors can perhaps pick Vijay Shankar. But I don’t know why he isn’t bowling enough. I don’t think Ajinkya Rahane will fit in (as there are talks regarding his comeback); he hasn’t played the One-Day International format for a long time.

Dinesh Karthik has bad luck because Rishabh Pant is there, who is a total match-winner. If Pant doesn’t go, then Dinesh can make it. I know Dinesh has done very well, but sometimes the team management has to take one person instead of two. And I think they are more keen on Pant.

READ| Vijay Shankar not thinking about World Cup squad selection

Jasprit Bumrah has been bowling well, getting wickets, and he is not easy to pick. He has all the armoury in bowling to succeed in a tournament like the World Cup.

Shankar can still make it if they leave out Khaleel Ahmed, but he needs to bowl more. Ravindra Jadeja I am not too sure of.

My pick: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K. L. Rahul, Virat Kohli (captain), Ambati Rayudu, M. S. Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vijay Shankar/Khaleel Ahmed.