Former India Test captain and coach Anil Kumble has picked his Indian squad for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales and as it is always expected from the serious student of the game, Jumbo’s 15-man team had interesting inclusions and exclusions.
Kumble, India’s highest wicket-taker in international cricket with over 950 scalps, also gave the relevant reasons behind his picks.
Interestingly, Kumble has kept Ambati Rayudu out from the playing XI, while keeping MS Dhoni at number 4. Rayudu was recently dropped from the final two ODIs against Australia due to his poor form with the bat. Naming his playing XI, Kumble gave the nod to ‘Kulcha’ – Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal – while going with the pace battery of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
To everyone’s surprise, the legendary leg-spinner included Khaleel Ahmed as the back-up seamer in his squad, while picking Rishabh Pant as the back-up wicketkeeper in the side. Kumble further added that Vijay Shankar might get the nod over Ravindra Jadeja due to his consistent show with the bat in the limited-overs series against the Blackcaps and the Aussies.
“I’ll go with the obvious 11, which I believe selects itself. Which is – Rohit, Shikhar, Virat, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvi, Chahal, Kuldeep, Bumrah, Shami. So this will be our 11. Not necessarily the playing 11 but then you know they will definitely be the 11 which will be a part of the 15. The 12, 13, 14, 15 is a challenge; I believe that it’ll either be Vijay Shankar or Jadeja, one of them and from what you’ve seen of Vijay Shankar as a batsman. I think he gets the nod.
“Then experience in the middle order I will still back an Ambati Rayudu who can be your 13. 14 & 15. I would still want a fast bowler because you have, it’s a long World Cup… So going by that 3 fast bowlers Shami, Bumrah & Bhuvi need a backup. I would go with a Khaleel because he brings in the left arm seam option.
Then you have the opener, do you need an opener? I won’t pick KL Rahul as an opener I would rather go with a middle order bat. I would back a Rishabh pant because he is young, he is talented, he can change the game on his day, so you would want an X factor & he can also give you a backup keeping option,” the former skipper added.
Anil Kumble’s 15-man India squad for the 2019 World Cup:
Virat Kohli (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Ambati Rayudu, Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar.