The chairman of the national selection committee, MSK Prasad has recently opened up about India’s probable 2019 World Cup squad. In a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo, he revealed the selectors have almost finalised the World Cup squad, apart from one spot. He also added Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar and Ajinkya Rahane are all in contention for the mega event.
Meanwhile, England and Wales will organise the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup from 30 May to 14 July. The final 15-member squad will have to get picked around one month before the beginning of the tournament.
In the recent interview, MSK Prasad spoke about the three players who are in strong contention for the upcoming World Cup. Though Rishabh Pant has played only three ODIs, he has impressed hugely with his performances in other international formats.
The chief selector feels the young man is giving a healthy headache to the selectors.
While MS Dhoni is set to play as the main wicketkeeper-batsman, the young man is in a serious fight with Dinesh Karthik for the second wicketkeeper spot. However, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik both can feature in the upcoming World Cup, and one can play the specialist batsman role.
Talking about Rishabh Pant, MSK Prasad told ESPNcricinfo, “Undoubtedly he (Pant) is in contention. A healthy headache. The progression of Rishabh in the last one year is phenomenal across the formats. What we actually felt is he needs a bit of maturity now, gain more experience. That is reason we have included him in India A series wherever possible.”
Vijay Shankar has impressed the selectors
The 28-year-old pace-bowling all-rounder, Vijay Shankar has impressed with his recent international performances. In the latest New Zealand tour, the right-handed batsman played some significant roles by utilising his limited opportunities.
MSK Prasad said about the all-rounder, “In whatever opportunities he has got, Vijay Shankar has shown the skill sets required at this level. We have been grooming him through India A tours in the last two years. But we will have to see where he can fit in the dynamics of this team.”
In domestic cricket, Ajinkya Rahane has been in the form
Though Ajinkya Rahane hasn’t played an ODI in almost last twelve months, MSK Prasad claimed he is very much in contention for the World Cup. As KL Rahul is struggling to maintain the favourable form, the selectors may be focusing on Ajinkya Rahane as the third opener.
In the ongoing List A season, Ajinkya Rahane has performed consistently with the bat. In 11 List A innings in this season, he scored 597 runs with an average of 74.62.
Talking about Ajinkya Rahane, MSK Prasad said, “In domestic cricket, he has been in form. He is very much in contention for the World Cup.”
Before the World Cup, India has left only ODI series. They will play a five-match home ODI series against Australia from 2 March. As the selectors are serious about Ajinkya Rahane, he is likely to make his ODI comeback in the upcoming series.