Zaheer Khan Picks His Team India Squad for 2019 World Cup

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Zaheer Khan Picks His Team India Squad for 2019 World Cup 

Zaheer Khan Picks His Team India Squad for 2019 World Cup
REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

Former Indian National Cricket Team fast bowler, Zaheer Khan on Friday (February 1), has named his 15-member Team India squad for the upcoming 2019 World Cup. The quadrennial event is scheduled to commence from May 30 at Kennington Oval in London. Zaheer maintained the majority of players have had backed themselves with the rollicking performances to make things easier ahead of the much-awaited squad announcement.

“Most of the players have picked themselves up, and this is a great sign to judge a squad going to the [2019] World Cup,” Zaheer revealed on Cricbuzz Live alongside Guatam Bhimani and Harsha Bhogle.

Zaheer backs MS Dhoni:

Zaheer Khan, Team India Squad, 2019 World Cup, MS Dhoni
Zaheer Khan played under Dhoni’s captaincy. Photo Credit: AFP.

The 40-year-old left-arm fast bowler reiterated senior wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni is the obvious choice for the World Cup. He added there was no debate whatsoever when Dhoni weathered the criticism for his slow approach.

But Dhoni not only made a return with three fifties on the trot but kept on ticking the scoreboard.

In 2019, Dhoni has been in a prolific form. So far, he amassed 241 runs in five matches at the jaw-dropping average of 241.

“Maybe [MS Dhoni] there’s a debate, but in my head, there was never a debate when [debate] it was going on,” Zaheer added.

Hardik is essential, and what about Rayudu, Rahul and Karthik?

Zaheer Khan, Team India Squad, 2019 World Cup, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik
Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik’s fate lies in the hands of BCCI’s selection committee. Photo Credit: AFP.

Zaheer believes the addition of an all-rounder like Hardik Pandya would allow the Team India to play an extra batsman in the squad. Thus, it lends the balance within the team to compete in a best possible way.

The main factor which will be up for debate is basically you want to go in with four fast bowlers and Hardik Pandya, or you want to take that chance of saying that Pandya is our fourth seamer. Because, if you go in with that kind of approach, you will have that option of picking an extra batsman.

The Delhi-based cricketer Zaheer further suggested playing the fourth pacer would settle the place of either Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik or out-of-form KL Rahul. He remarked the two could get a ‘nod’ among the trio.

Then Rayudu and Karthik, both probably can both fit in the squad or KL Rahul. So, between these three guys, I think two will get a nod,”

Zaheer further highlighted the importance of a fourth bowler in a lengthy event like World Cup in itself. He hinted the selection committee would never want a bowler who hasn’t been tested much to perform right from the word go. Adding the prominent bowling department plays a crucial role in ICC’s coveted events.

I still feel that the fourth bowler is very important just because the World Cup is going to be a long tournament. You don’t want a bowler to come from outside and right away try to fit in the squad. You would want to cover all the bases to make sure your bowling line-up is soughted.

While talking about the third opener, Zaheer added Rayudu is also a viable option alongside Rahul. He remarked all-rounder Kedar Jadhav evolved himself over the years by picking wickets for Team India. Zaheer stated the three all-rounders in Ravindra Jadeja, Pandya and Jadhav bring in a lot of variety within the squad.

Zaheer praises Rishabh Pant:

Rishbah Pant, India, 2019 ICC World Cup
Rishabh Pant impresses Zaheer Khan. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

The experienced campaigner Zaheer has heaped praise on 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant. He termed him as an ‘X-factor’ for adding value to the team with his stroke-making.

“You need that X-factor of Rishabh Pant, because of what he has done in those two innings that he played at the Test level. He has that ability to provide that X-factor to finish off the innings. And that’s something which can be crucial,” Zaheer signed off.

Zaheer, who played 200 ODIs, 92 Tests and 17 T20Is for India, revealed Dinesh Karthik had improved a lot to finish games when things have been set for him, but Pant owing to his natural game irrespective of the situation takes the challenge to excel. He summed it up by praising Kuldeep Yadav’s consistency with the white-ball.

Here’s the list of players:

Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (C), MS Dhoni (wk), Ambati Rayudu/Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul/Bowler

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