Former chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar believes that India should include Ajinkya Rahane in their squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 because of his familiarity with the conditions in England and Wales.
“I feel by ignoring talented and experienced Ajinkya, the Indian think tank is doing a grave injustice to him. He is a proven batsman in the English conditions and an outstanding fielder too,” Mumbai Mirror quoted Vengsarkar as saying.
Ambati Rayudu, who is currently occupying the no. 4 slot, has struggled to score runs in the recent past. After a match-winning 90 against New Zealand in the final ODI, he has managed to score just 33 runs in three ODIs against Australia in the ongoing series before being rested for the fourth and fifth game.
Vengsarkar believes Rahane, who has played 56 Tests and 90 ODIs for India, will be a perfect candidate for both no. 4 and for the back-up opener slot as he has the experience of playing at both the positions and his record in England is pretty good.
“He (Ajinkya) will give the middle order the much-needed solidity besides the option as an opening batsman too as he has the experience of opening and also batting at No 4. Mind you, it’s not a Twenty20 tournament but the 50-over World Cup where building a team total will decide the fate of the teams. We need a total of at least 280 in every game,” he said.
Vengsarkar also spared a thought for senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who has fallen down the pecking order since the emergence of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Ashwin has not played since the tour of Caribbeans in mid-2017 and is unlikely to return to the ODI or the T20I teams any time soon.
“They have decided on Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal as spinners. That rules out R Ashwin completely. I feel it is unfortunate because he is a class spinner and he will be more than handy in the English conditions,” added Vengsarkar.