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ICC World Cup 2019: Ajit Agarkar recommends India’s number four in his squad for the tournament

"I have a little surprise with No.4,"- Agarkar.

Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar. (Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Former India all-rounder Ajit Agarkar has revealed his India’s playing eleven for the upcoming ICC World Cup, scheduled to take place in England and Wales from May 30. And the former cricketer-turned-analyst has sprung a big surprise in his predicted lineup. Agarkar has snubbed under-pressure Ambati Rayudu from his playing eleven and has instead batted for Vijay Shankar’s inclusion at number four.

Rayudu’s place is under threat after his inconsistent performances especially in the recently-concluded ODI series against Australia. He was poor with the bat and was eventually dropped as the team-management made it crystal clear that he is yet to cement his spot in the team. Rayudu scored 13, 18 and 2 in the first three games before India tried out skipper Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant at that spot.

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Shankar, on the other hand, has continued to impress since making his ODI debut in Australia earlier this year. Some fine cameos with the bat in testing conditions of New Zealand further enhanced his reputation before he left a mark with his all-round skills against Australia too. In the seaming conditions of England, Shankar definitely gives Kohli more options. And Agarkar feels the all-rounder should pip Rayudu for the number four spot.

“I have a little surprise with No.4. It is Vijay Shankar. He has shown glimpses of what he can do at the top of the order. Rayudu has been batting there for a while, but in my opinion, Shankar has a more all-round game to fit in that position. Plus, he gives Virat Kohli an option of few overs if needed,” Agarkar told ESPNCricinfo.

Shami over Bhuvneshwar:

In another surprising decision, Agarkar picked Mohammed Shami ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to share the new-ball responsibilities with Jasprit Bumrah. In the last couple of years or so, Bhuvneshwar has forged a formidable partnership with Bumrah. However, Agarkar went for current form and backed Shami to be India’s second pacer in the World Cup.

“At this point in time, Shami’s form and the way he is bowling at different stages of the innings be it with the new ball or the old ball, middle of the innings or end of the innings, he seems to be bowling better than Bhuvneshwar Kumar,” the former Indian pacer explained.

Ajit Agarkar’s India playing XI for World Cup 2019:

Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami.

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