Karthik picked for World Cup; Pant and Rayudu left out

The experienced Dinesh Karthik was included in India’s 15-member squad for the 2019 World Cup, as young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant was left out, the BCCI announced on Monday.

Pant had so far scored 222 runs in the IPL compared to a mere 93 by Karthik, but the latter’s experience helped tilt the scale in his favour for the mega-event, starting in England from May 30.

The Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman hit centuries in Tests in England and Australia and was included for the ODI and T20I series against Australia earlier this year ahead of Karthik. However, he is yet to do anything of note in ODIs, managing just 93 runs in five one-day matches at an average of 23.

For the record, Karthik took India to victory in two close run chases with a run-a-ball unbeaten 38 in the third ODI against New Zealand and a quick-fire 14-ball 25 not out in a high-scoring ODI against Australia, helping India chase down 299 with two balls to spare.

His famous last-ball six against Bangladesh in the Nidahas Trophy final a year ago showed that he is capable of guiding the team home in close finishes.

He was left out of the ODI series against Australia as the selectors gave Pant a few matches but he failed to convince them.

K L Rahul also keeps his place in the India ODI team after a good showing in the ongoing IPL where he has scored 335 runs in eight games for Kings XI Punjab — the second highest in the tournament behind David Warner (400).

Rahul was suspended from the Indian team along with all-rounder Hardik Pandya in January for their controversial remarks on a TV chat show, before he was recalled for the limited overs series against Australia.

All-rounder Vijay Shankar was also preferred ahead of the experienced Ambati Rayudu for the No 4 slot, as he provides balance to the team with his ability to bowl a few overs of medium pace.

India also went in with three spinners as Ravindra Jadeja was picked along with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Interestingly, for conditions like England, India are going in with three specialist fast bowlers in Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Shankar expected to chip in with their medium pace bowling.

Two-time world champions India will play their first match on June 5 against South Africa at Hampshire Bowl in Southampton.

India will then travel to London where they will square off against defending champions Australia at The Oval on June 9, while Tren tBridge in Nottingham will be the stage of their third league match against New Zealand on June 13.

In a repeat of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, India will take on traditional rivals Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester on June 16, while they will return to Southampton to play Afghanistan on June 22. India will be back at Old Trafford for their sixth league match against the Windies, which will be played on June 27.

Edgbaston in Birmingham will host India’s matches against England and Bangladesh on June 30 and July 2 respectively, while their ninth and last league match will be at Headingley, Leeds, against Sri Lanka on July 6.

India‘s World Cup squad:

1. Virat Kohli (captain)

2. Rohit Sharma

3. Mahendra Singh Dhoni

4. Shikhar Dhawan

5. KL Rahul

6. Hardik Pandya

7. Kedar Jadhav

8. Kuldeep Yadav

9. Yuzvendra Chahal

10. Jasprit Bumrah

11. Bhuvneshwar Kumar

12. Mohammed Shami

13. Dinesh Karthik

14. Vijay Shankar

15. Ravindra Jadeja

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