Item in TimesNews.com 4 March 2019, with title “Gautam Gambhi…. snubs Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik”
Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir made a few surprising inclusions in his predicted Indian squad for the upcoming 2019 World Cup. The showpiece event gets underway from May 30 in England and Wales. Several former cricketers have already thrown in their title and squad predictions and Gambhir is the latest to join the bandwagon. While he omitted both Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant from his predicted 16-man squad, Gambhir made another surprising choice by selecting Ravichandran Ashwin over Ravindra Jadeja as the third spinner.
Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have formed a lethal partnership together in the limited-overs format for the Men in Blue. The duo has been consistent and is likely to get the nod for the World Cup with little or no competition for their spots. Meanwhile, Ashwin last played an ODI for India in June 2017 and has remained out of favour in the ODI setup. He has featured regularly in Tests and played his part in India’s historic Test series win over Australia, however, injuries and string of poor form in ODIs hasn’t helped his cause.
But Gambhir feels with Ashwin, India will have someone experienced in their ranks, who can also help the youngsters during the World Cup. The former Indian opener picked Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya as the three all-rounders while snubbing Pant and Karthik. Both Pant and Karthik have been competing for the back-up wicket-keeper spot while Shankar had of late impressed with the bat and established his credentials for a spot in the World Cup squad.
Gambhir feels KL Rahul can fit into the squad both as a back-up opener and the back-up wicketkeeper and India can have an extra all-rounder in Shankar. He picked his World Cup squad while talking to Star Sports. Gambhir went for Umesh Yadav as the back-up pacer apart from Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who will be leading India’s pace battery at the showpiece event.
India will open their World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. The Men in Blue will be aiming for glory under the captaincy of Virat Kohli, who will be leading the side for the first time in a World Cup. India along with hosts England have been picked as title favourites by the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, VVS Laxman among others.
Gambhir’s predicted 16-man squad for 2019 World Cup: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav