While the Team India has seven players who were part of the 2015 edition of the World Cup, there are seven new faces in the squad.
Team India is all set to face a formidable South African in its opening match of the ICC World Cup 2019 on June 5. The Virat Kohli-led side boasts of a good mix of youth and experience and is being considered as one of the favourites to lift the World Cup. The selectors have picked three all-rounders, three seamers and two spinners in the side. While the team has seven players who were part of the 2015 edition of the World Cup, there are seven new faces in the squad. Here’s a look at five players who could have made it to the team but missed.
The explosive left-handed batsmen Rishabh Pant was dropped from India’s World Cup squad after selectors gave preference to experience over youth and picked up Dinesh Karthik. Pant played some thunderous knocks in the recently concluded Indian Premier League season. In the 16 matches, he scored 488 runs to narrowly miss out on the IPL Orange Cap. Before that, the swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman smashed his career-best knock of 159* in the 4th Test match against Australia, contributing to India’s victory. Pant has displayed loads of talent in shorter formats of the game and has the potential of strengthening the middle order with his aggressive style of batting.
Ajinkya Rahane was once considered a certain on number 4 slot in India’s batting order. Probably his inclusion would have solved India’s middle order woes. But the selectors seem to have given weightage to KL Rahul. Shreyas Iyer was another candidate who challenged Rahane’s bid to join the World Cup squad. Rahane has scored around 3500 runs in 56 ODI matches at an average of 40.55. He has good exposure in playing at number 4 spot in ODIs.
His performance in IPL 2019 helped Rajasthan Royals get into the playoffs in the absence of Steven Smith.
Navdeep Saini is one of promising bowlers in Indian cricket arena at the moment. He can comfortably bowl at 140 kmph. The lanky bowler clocked150 kmph many times in one of the games against Mumbai Indians in the IPL. With such a speed, he can prove dangerous on foreign wickets. Saini scalped 11 wickets in 13 IPL matches he played for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2019 after being bought for Rs 3 crore in the auctions. He is yet to make his ODI and Test debut.
Ravichandran Ashwin, the spin wizard of India as he has been called by his fans, was the primary spinner in Indian bowling department in the 2015 World Cup squad. In 2015, Ashwin left his mark in the tournament by picking up 13 wickets in eight matches with his best figures being 4/25. But he has not played any ODI match for India during its tour of West Indies in 2017. He dismissed three West Indies batsmen and conceded 28 runs in that match. In IPL 2019, Ashwin captained Kings XI Punjab and took 15 wickets in 14 matches. He landed into a controversy when he mankaded Jos Buttler. In his absence, Yuzvendra Chahal will step up India’s spin attack in the marquee event.
Before the announcement of India squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Ambati Rayudu was considered as one of the frontrunners for number 4 spot in the batting line up. Rayudu’s innings against West Indies at home and against New Zealand in Wellington in February 2019 seemed to have cemented his place in the World Cup squad. But he lost his good form against Australia in the five ODIs just before the IPL. In IPL 2019, he pushed to regain a position in the World Cup squad but his struggle with the form continued and he managed to amass just 282 runs in 17 matches.