In the middle of the recently concluded 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, the Indian selectors surprisingly named the uncapped ODI player Mayank Agarwal in the replacement of injured Vijay Shankar. However, the selectors didn’t choose the experienced ODI cricketer Ambati Rayudu in that situation. On Sunday (21st July), the chief selector MSK Prasad has revealed the reason for choosing Mayank Agarwal instead of Ambati Rayudu.
During the 2019 CWC, Vijay Shankar received a toe injury that forced him to miss out this tournament from the middle. Many believed that experienced Ambati Rayudu would be the best replacement of Shankar.
Ahead of that tournament, MSK Prasad claimed that Shankar would play the no.4 batting position role in the 2019 CWC. As Rayudu regularly played in the no.4 batting position in earlier ODIs, he surely would be the better choice. Moreover, he was in the World Cup standby squad.
However, the selectors surprised everyone by choosing the inexperienced Mayank Agarwal for the remainder of the 2019 CWC tournament. Agarwal was also not in the World Cup standby squad.
We needed a backup opener – MSK Prasad
Now, MSK Prasad has revealed the reason for that surprising replacement. Apart from Shankar, the opening batsman KL Rahul was also battling with an injury. While the regular limited-overs opener Shikhar Dhawan had been already ruled out from that tournament, India were facing opening batting crisis. So, the selectors decided to choose Agarwal as the backup opener. However, Agarwal didn’t play a match in that tournament.
Prasad clarified, “When Shankar was injured, Rahul got injured attempting a catch. That time, we needed a backup opener. We looked at options & picked Agarwal.”
On 2nd July, the 33-year-old Ambati Rayudu announced his retirement from the international cricket.
After Rayudu missed the initial 15-member squad for the 2019 CWC, he tweeted, “Just Ordered a new set of 3d glasses to watch the world cup.” Earlier, during that World Cup squad announcement, MSK Prasad mentioned Shankar as the three-dimensional cricketer.
Mayank Agarwal is not in the limited-overs squads for the upcoming away series
Meanwhile, the selectors have chosen Mayank Agarwal for the Test series in the upcoming Caribbean tour. However, he is not in the limited-overs squads for the forthcoming West Indies and the USA tour. Opener Shikhar Dhawan has returned in the limited-overs squads for the upcoming tour.