Former cricketers react to India's World Cup squad

The inclusion of Dinesh Karthik over Rishabh Pant was among the major talking points from India's squad.

Published: 15th April 2019 07:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2019 07:56 PM   |  A+A-

Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar Monday said he is surprised at young gloveman Rishabh Pant's exclusion from India's World Cup squad given his "exceptionally" good batting form and "great" improvement in wicket-keeping skills.

The 33-year-old Dinesh Karthik pipped Pant in the fight for the second wicketkeeper's slot in India's 15-strong squad for the World Cup, starting May 30 in England.

Gavaskar said the move is surprising but backed Karthik as a better wicketkeeper.

"A bit surprised, looking at his (Pant's) form. He was batting exceptionally well, not only in the IPL but before that also. He was showing great improvement his wicket-keeping as well.

"He brings that left-handed option in the top-six which is very handy against the bowlers," Gavaskar told 'India Today'.

"The bowlers have to change their line (for a left-hander) and the captains have to do a lot of field arrangements."

Pant has so far scored 245 runs in the ongoing IPL, compared to Karthik's 111 but Gavaskar said there was some merit in ignoring Pant's batting form.

"On a morning when say, MSD (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) has a flu and can't play, you want somebody who is a better wicket-keeper. I think Karthik's wicket-keeping skills, more than anything, have won him this place," Gavaskar said.

Karthik's inclusion unexpected

Former opener Sanjay Manjrekar agreed with Gavaskar on the point that Karthik's inclusion was a bit unexpected.

"It's impossible to keep everyone happy with team selections but Karthik inclusion surprising. Selectors guilty of showing no consistency in his case. Discarded after Jan 2019 to select straight for the WC," he said.

Manjrekar said he stands by the prediction he made last month that India's middle order will be its Achilles heel in England.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said India's decision to omit Pant was nothing short of crazy.

Gavaskar said Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who made it to the squad for his "three-dimensional qualities", will be a very useful player for the team.

"He is a cricketer who has improved over the last one year. He has grown in confidence. Shankar is a very useful cricketer. He is a very very good batsman, handy bowler, and an outstanding fielder," the batting great explained.

Manjrekar, on the other hand felt, "Shankar is a lucky man to make it."

Former Indian batsman Aakash Chopra said Pant's elevation to the top tier of the central contracts had him believe that the youngster would make India's World Cup squad.

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  • Vijay

    Every cricket fan in india would love to read mr.Gavaskar's take on Sikar diwan's permanent seat in the team even after mediocre form and arguable ability.
    8 days ago reply
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