Former Team India skipper and currently a popular face in the commentary box, Sunil Gavaskar feels that the selectors will be ultimately forced to pick players on the basis of IPL performances as current form plays a major part in whatever format the player is playing. Chairman of Selectors, MSK Prasad made it pretty clear that his committee won’t look at IPL performances while picking the Indian squad for the 2019 World Cup which is slated to be played in England and Wales between 30th May and 14th July.
The Men in Blue still have a huge problem surrounding the No 4 spot. When India last played the Aussies, the likes of Ambati Rayudu, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant didn’t get enough runs. Hence it might well come down to the IPL performances when the selectors meet in Mumbai on 15th April to pick the squad for the quadrennial event.
KL Rahul has looked in good touch in the IPL so far. He smashed his maiden IPL ton in the match against the Mumbai Indians. Sunil Gavaskar feels given Rahul’s form, he might well be in contention for a spot in the 2019 World Cup.
“Look, who bats at no.4 will be a matter of debate. And this is where IPL form will be considered because that’s current form. Ambati Rayudu was spoken about when the season started but has lost form sharply and someone like KL Rahul could be chosen for no.4,” Sunil Gavaskar was quoted as saying by India Today.
Sunil Gavaskar doesn’t want to read too much into the selector’s comments that they will not consider IPL performances for World Cup selection. However, the former Little Master is very impressed with the way KL Rahul has built his innings in the ongoing IPL so far. He has already scored 317 runs in 7 matches and Gavaskar feels that Rahul can be the No 4 for India in the 2019 World Cup.
“He has played at no.4 in the past. But for some reason, he was confused in the past year and a half or so. But we have seen him bat with a lot of focus and concentration in the IPL. And I don’t think it’s so much a problem for an opener to switch to middle order as opposed to a middle order player to bat in the opening position,” Gavaskar said.
KL Rahul made his maiden IPL century against Mumbai Indians. He stayed there till the end and ensured Punjab scored 197 in their allotted 20 overs.