Team India will enter into the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 as one of the hot favourites. The Virat Kohli-led side has been playing some great white-ball cricket in recent times, both home and away. With a lot of players competing for spots in the team, former cricketer and current analyst Aakash Chopra had a say on the Indian squad for the mega-event.
After praising the formidable top-order lineup in his column for ESPNCricinfo, Aakash has backed Ambati Rayudu for the No.4 spot saying that his gritty 90 in the fifth ODI against New Zealand in Wellington assured his ticket to England.
Rayudu, who was constantly questioned for his ability at No.4, guided India to a competitive total after the hosts reduced them to 18 for 4. He stitched two fifty-plus partnerships before Hardik Pandya’s cameo propelled the visitors to a total of 252.
“Rayudu was the last one to enter the race and it needed only a handful of good knocks to put him at the top of the queue. Late starters have a significant advantage while the team is closing in on a world event, for there’s hardly any time left for experimentation. There were some question marks about Rayudu’s efficiency in trying circumstances but the last game of this tour has sealed his place,” he wrote.
The only change that Aakash has made in the Indian batting lineup is that he left out the out of form KL Rahul and picked young Rishabh Pant, who had to make a strong impression in the limited opportunities he’s likely to get in the home series against Australia that starts March 2.
In the bowling lineup, Aakash feels selectors should name Khaleel Ahmed as the reserve seamer owing to his left-handedness, while he left out Ravindra Jadeja from the final 15 saying that it’s not viable to pick him at the cost of either an extra batsman or a fast bowler.
Jadeja’s late bloom in the format assured him a ticket to the World Cup, but Pandya’s brilliant comeback in the New Zealand series has left a question mark on the spin-all rounder’s position in the team.
Aakash Chopra’s India World Cup squad:
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal.