Indian cricket fans weren’t amused at all after the much awaited 15-man squad for the Champions trophy was announced. Keeping a conservative approach, the BCCI stayed away from taking any risk and chose only established names. The ignorance shown towards some of the recent performers has landed the selectors in hot water as the safety first method backfired.
While the team which has been chosen is not inferior, the fans expected names like Gautam Gambhir and Rishabh Pant to break into the squad. Many felt both Gambhir and Pant could have got easily fitted in the touring party. This sounded quite appropriate given the fact that the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Manish Pandey made the cut, simply on the merit of their past reputation.
With KL Rahul out of the race, Gambhir, who is currently the 3rd highest run-getter in the IPL with 425 runs in 12 matches, was anticipated to return. The Delhi opener has been knocking the doors for quite some time. However, Dhawan, despite just managing some good knocks, edged Gauti out. This seems clearly unfair.
The first debate in favour of Dhawan which sprung up was his exploits in the 2013 edition where he led the charge and played a centre role in India’s title win. But, will the performance made almost four years ago still serve India and can he perform with the same intensity this time around as well.
It does not appear so!
His last ODI series against England ended in failure. Currently, in the IPL, he has been blowing hot and cold. If Gambhir not been around performing better that others, Dhawan’s selection would have made sense, considering the fact that there is no other experienced opener in India at the moment. Amusingly, Dhawan’s has been struggling to compete for his opener’s role with KL Rahul in recent times. BCCI definitely showered him with some great love.
Let’s move to Rishabh Pant. The Gambhir – Dhawan selection muddle was debatable to some extent. But, what stopped the selectors from picking Pant in the squad in place of Manish Pandey?
As far as Pandey is concerned, his fault is not in his form but his playing style which has acted as negative factor for him throughout his career so far. The talented Karnataka star has always found it difficult to beat Ajinkya Rahane and gain a place in the XI. It clearly appears he has been picked as a backup man.
Rishabh Pant, on the other hand, would have brought some freshness to the side. The southpaw along with the in-form Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni make up for a ballistic lower order. For someone who loves to pull and hook, Pant, who has been eagerly waiting for his turn, a chance to be part of the Champions Trophy team in England would have made him ooze with confidence. Not to forget, his current form which clearly suggests that the chances of him succeeding in England are pretty high against the odds.
The selectors, unfortunately, missed the opportunity of adding an X-Factor in the squad.