Virat Kohli (centre) leaves BCCI headquarters after attending World Cup team selection meeting in Mumbai on Monday. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP
India on Monday named a tried and tested squad for the World Cup led by Virat Kohli with selectors going for experience in all the slots for the marquee 50-over event.
Dinesh Karthik, 33, was given the second wicketkeeper's slot over rising 21-year-old star Rishabh Pant, ending days of speculation over the role.
Vijay Shankar's inclusion means he will probably be the first choice number four batsman, a position which India has struggle to fill permanently.
Karthik has not been on form in recent games, but selectors said they value his performance under pressure over the years.
"Definitely it's a case where we debated at length. We went ahead with Karthik because of his experience in big matches," chief selector MSK Prasad told a news conference.
"We have seen Karthik finishing matches under pressure. Pant is full of talent, there's a lot of time for him and it's just unfortunate that he has missed out." Karthik was part of the Indian squad for the 2007 World Cup but was overlooked for 2011 and 2015.
The selectors however made it clear that former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, 37, would remain first-choice wicketkeeper.
"In an important game, wicketkeeping is also important. Karthik will only play in case of an injury to Dhoni," Prasad said.
Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar said Pant could have been an exciting option but backed the selectors.
"On a morning when say, (Dhoni) has flu and can't play, you want somebody who is a better wicket-keeper. I think Karthik's wicketkeeping skills, more than anything, have won him this place," he told India Today TV.
The veteran Dhoni led India to World Cup glory at home in 2011 and would be playing in his fourth tournament.
Allrounder Shankar, who made his one-day debut this year, was also named for the tournament to be held in England and Wales and starts on May 30.
The 28-year-old would probably be the number four batsman, a position in the 15-member squad that had been difficult to fill, according to Prasad. India have tried 11 different number fours since 2017.
Shankar's "three-dimensional qualities" worked in his favour when pitted against Ambati Rayudu who has been struggling recently.
"Apart from his batting, he can bowl if the conditions are suitable. If the conditions are overcast, which we might encounter in England, he might bowl a bit and he's a fantastic fielder." In the fast bowling department, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was set to be back-up pacer to Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in the big games.
India, ranked number two behind England in one-day games, reached the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup where they lost to Australia.
India squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Vijay Shankar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami.
Australia on Monday appointed ex-England bowling coach Troy Cooley for their upcoming Ashes series as they bid to win the urn on away soil for the first time in 18 years.
It was a superb display by the underdog Black Caps, who came into the match on the back of three straight defeats by Pakistan, Australia and England and only qualified for the semi-finals on net run-rate, while India topped the 10-team group stage.
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) on Thursday decided to change the age-old rule of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary convening the selection committee meeting of the Indian team by handing the responsibility
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Swiss pair Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic will next month attempt to achieve a remarkable double as they bid to retain their Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships titles.
Lucas Herbert pipped South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout on the second play-off hole to mark the Australian Day in style with a by winning Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday.