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ICC World Cup 2019: Mohammad Azharuddin and Madan Lal question logic behind Rishabh Pant’s exclusion

MSK Prasad-led selection panel preferred Karthik's experience over Pant's exuberance of youth in the World Cup.

Rishabh Pant vs Australia
Rishabh Pant vs Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

One big name that was missing from India’s 15-man squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019 to be played in England and Wales was that of Rishabh Pant. Touted as one of the most talented batsmen, who has already hit two centuries in Tests against England and Australia; Pant was seen as a lock-in for the backup wicket-keeper’s spot in the Indian team.

However, the BCCI selection panel, led by MSK Prasad decided to include the experienced Dinesh Karthik in Pant’s place, citing better keeping skills and form. Rishabh Pant has been an enigmatic wonder for all those who have witnessed his innings, as he usually dominates the bowling from the word go, but on the other hand, also tends to throw his wicket away just as he is set for a big one.

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But many former Indian players have questioned the logic behind Rishabh Pant’s exclusion from the Indian squad. Madan Lal, the Indian fast bowler, who was part of India’s 1983 World Cup win and Mohammad Azharuddin, who led India in three World Cups in 1992, 1996 and 1999, were the ones to raise their voice against the same.

Defies logic, says Madan Lal

“It defies logic. I feel sorry for (Rishabh) Pant. (Dinesh) Karthik has not played regularly in the recent past. In any case, Pant’s keeping is as good as Karthik’s and he is a far better batsman. Pant has the capacity to change the course of the match too,” Madan Lal was quoted as saying by Sportstar.

“Is it fair to drop a young cricketer who has performed exceedingly well in Tests in England and Australia. If he is not a good wicketkeeper why pick him for the Tests then. Karthik has been given enough chances. The team otherwise is well balanced and probably the best possible. The batting has depth and bowling looks superb,” former skipper Mohammad Azharuddin said.

However, Madan Lal backs this chosen team to go all the way and bring home the World Cup. He also felt that Vijay Shankar’s selection is a good one and he should bat at number four during the tournament.

“This team has experience and some of the players have been playing together for a long time. The captain (Virat Kohli) has a passion to win the Cup. I liked the selection of Vijay Shankar. He should bat at No 4 and the team management should back him steadily. To me, it looks the best bowling attack of the World Cup and I expect the team to win the Cup,” concluded Madan Lal.

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