Team India’s ouster from the 2019 ICC World Cup has opened a can of worms around the selection committee. There were worries around the India middler-order before the World Cup, especially the contentious no. 4 spot. Several players were tried and tested but no one could grab hold of those opportunities as the team management failed to identify the correct candidate. The likes of Ambati Rayudu, Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey tried and failed in their quest to nail down that spot.
In the World Cup, India went ahead with Shankar in the no. 4 spot and left out Rayudu, who had been their preferred option for the last 1 year. Shankar was injured and the management chose to call Mayank Agarwal in his place. Rayudu subsequently announced his retirement and it led to severe criticism from the fans as they labeled it as mistreatment of a player.
However, former BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale believes management did the right thing by leaving out Rayudu. He stated that Rayudu as well as Karthik had been given enough chances and they failed to prove themselves. He wanted more trust to be shown in the likes of Manish Pandey and Rishabh Pant.
‘They (selection committee) kept on experimenting with Vijay Shankar, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik… Karthik has been playing since 2003, when I was a selector. Rayudu also. You can’t pick teams on the basis of the IPL performance. You need players who have performed well outside the sub-continent,’ Jagdale told Indian Express.
‘I was really shocked when Pant wasn’t picked. I also feel sorry for somebody like Manish Pandey. Shreyas Iyer, too, was unfortunate. I don’t feel sorry for Rayudu. Rayudu, Karthik; they had enough chances. Manish Pandey got a hundred in Australia. After that he didn’t get many chances. I think the preparation part could have been much better. They were backing the wrong players.’
Pant got the nod for the no. 4 spot in the last four matches at the World Cup for India. Pant did not light up the tournament like the IPL but had a decent outing as he scored 116 runs at an average of 29 in the four matches he played. Meanwhile, Karthik only scored 7 runs in 2 matches while Shankar accumulated 58 runs in 3 games.
India were knocked out of the World Cup when they failed to chase down the 240-run target given by New Zealand. After the top-order crumbled, only MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja managed to get India close but were unable to see their team through.