Sarandeep Singh[photo: sites.ndtv]
Sarandeep Singh[photo: sites.ndtv]

Ravi Shastris comments on the exclusion of middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu for the 2019 World Cup have not gone down well with the selection committee members.

The then North Zone selector Sarandeep Singh is not happy with the former head coach questioning his selection decision as according to him the team is selected keeping in mind the views and plans of captains and coaches.

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source: AP

Ravi Shastri is Correct In Saying Coach Doesn’t Have Any Say In The Selection Meetings But Instead, The Committee Goes To The Ground Speaking To Captain And Coach

The former Team India head coach has admitted that the squad chosen for the 2019 ODI World Cup left a lot to be desired. He was particularly baffled by the decision to pick three wicketkeepers. Ravi Shastri, however, stated that he never interfered in selection matters.

India’s squad selection for the 2019 World Cup caused a massive uproar among fans and former cricketers. Ambati Rayudu was not picked after Virat Kohli openly acknowledged in the build-up to the ICC event that he would be the team’s no.4 batter. Ambati Rayudu whose last ODI game came in March 2019 averaged 47.05 in 55 ODIs amassing 1694 runs.

Ambati Rayudu was overlooked despite two Indian players sustaining injuries at the World Cup. (Source: File)
Ambati Rayudu was overlooked despite two Indian players sustaining injuries at the World Cup. (Source: File)

“Ravi Shastri is right that the coach does not have any say in the selection meeting but the selection committee goes to the ground, speaks to the captain and head coach, and tells them about the plans and we also ask what they want. If there is any player you are asking for. If you look at the last few years we are winning almost every bilateral series,” said Sarandeep Singh.

Asked to share his views on the puzzling team selection, Ravi Shastri conceded that either Ambati Rayudu or Shreyas Iyer should have been in the team instead of three wicketkeepers in Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni, and Dinesh Karthik.

The then in-form Ambati Rayudu’s axe had led to a lot of controversy with many feeling that the Hyderabad cricketer was wronged in the situation. The 34-year-old batsman was overlooked despite two Indian players sustaining injuries at the 2019 World Cup.

While Ambati Rayudu was listed in the reserves for the ongoing World Cup tournament, Mayank Agarwal was picked over him to replace Vijay Shankar when he was injured. Fate refused to smile on him once again as the selectors chose Rishabh Pant after Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the tournament with an injury.

Ambati Rayudu announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, a decision that was later reversed by the Hyderabad player.

Sarandeep Singh: Head Coach Ravi Shastri Can Say Which Player He Wants;  Everyone Was On The Same Page More Often Than Not During His Tenure

The captain of the team always attends the selection meeting on most occasions to voice his opinion and ask for a player of his choice. Virat Kohli too did the same and with Ravi Shastri being so close to the then captain Virat Kohli baffled the former selector.

“He is the head coach so he can say which player he wants. He can say anything to Virat about what he wants. Sometimes it happens that we feel differently but at the end of the day we are always on the same page. For four years we never had different thoughts with Ravi Shastri and he is a good coach also. He listens to us all the time. So, suddenly if something like this came up, we always sat together and were always on the same page,” Sarandeep Singh said.

The former India head coach Ravi Shastri had also said while speaking to a leading publication that he was surprised to see three wicket-keepers MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, and Rishabh Pant in the squad. But according to Sarandeep Singh, Rishabh Pant was not in the team initially.

Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)
Rishabh Pant (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)

“All the three wicket-keepers are very good as batsmen. A selector does not interfere in selection. Rishabh Pant was selected when Shikhar Dhawan got injured during the World Cup. We already had an opener in KL Rahul. So, we were looking for someone to come and bat in the middle order and play big shots. This is the reason why Rishabh Pant was in the team. But to pick playing eleven is team management’s call. The selection committee does not interfere in it,” explained Sarandeep Singh about Rishabh Pant’s selection.

The three wicket-keepers selected for the 2019 World Cup are also known for their exploits with the bat. The Indian team also performed well and finished as table-toppers in the 2019 World Cup but lost in the semi-final to New Zealand as the entire batting line-up collapsed.

“In the 2019 World Cup if you are looking at selection of Rishabh Pant then he was not their first choice. MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik were in the team and we were winning all the matches. We even topped the table. But suddenly with these things coming, it will be upsetting for us because we did our job fairly.”

“We travelled all the time, we saw domestic matches in which batsmen, bowlers or all-rounders are doing well. There is nothing like that we never share anything and we just have things on the table and we say that this is the team. The captain is also sitting in the meeting all the time,” Sarandeep Singh said.

The Indian team performed excellently under the leadership of Virat Kohli and the guidance of Ravi Shastri but failed to win a single ICC Trophy together despite the fact that they came very close.

India had an impressive run in the 2019 ODI World Cup held in England until their batting crumbled against New Zealand in the semi-finals in Manchester. Chasing a target of 240, India collapsed to 24 for 4 before half-centuries from Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni lifted them. India, eventually, went down by 18 runs.