Team India for World Cup: Pant exclusion defies logic, says Madan Lal

Former India captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, feels it is unfair to drop a young cricketer who has performed exceedingly well in Tests in England and Australia.

"In any case, Pant's keeping is as good as Karthik's and he is a far better batsman," says Madan Lal.   -  AFP

Rishabh Pant's exclusion from India's 15-member squad for the World Cup was the talking point as the cricket world reacted with disappointment. Dinesh Karthik was preferred over Pant, who was the favourite of many former greats.

India's national selectors are often known to spring a surprise or two but this one did not go down well with Madan Lal, member of the 1983 team, which won the World Cup, and former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin, who figured in four editions of the tournament, leading in three of them in 1992, 1996 and 1999.

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Defies logic

“It defies logic. I feel sorry for (Rishabh) Pant. (Dinesh) Karthik has not played regularly in the recent past. In any case, Pant's keeping is as good as Karthik's and he is a far better batsman. Pant has the capacity to change the course of the match too,” said Madan Lal.

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In Azharuddin's view, Pant should have been included. “Is it fair to drop a young cricketer who has performed exceedingly well in Tests in England and Australia. If he is not a good wicketkeeper why pick him for the Tests then. Karthik has been given enough chances. The team otherwise is well balanced and probably the best possible. The batting has depth and bowling looks superb,” observed Azharuddin.

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Bowling packs a punch

Madan Lal expected the team to go the distance. “This team has experience and some of the players have been playing together for a long time. The captain (Virat Kohli) has the passion to win the Cup. I liked the selection of Vijay Shankar. He should bat at No 4 and the team management should back him steadily. To me, it looks the best bowling attack of the World Cup and I expect the team to win the Cup,” noted Madan Lal.