MSK Prasad: Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant narrowly missed out

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MSK Prasad: Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant narrowly missed out

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SportsCafe Desk

05/08/2017

MSK Prasad, the chairman of selectors, has revealed that Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant were the unlucky ones to be missed out from India's Champions Trophy squad. Prasad also backed the inclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin in the squad and the absence of no reserve wicketkeeper in the tournament.

The Indian squad for the Champions Trophy tournament commencing has been announced and the team looks similar to the one which featured in the series against England in January earlier this year. However, MSK Prasad clarified that the choices were not as straightforward as people might feel. 

The squad features two changes from the team that competed against England in January. Mohammed Shami has been brought back to the side, keeping the swinging England pitches in mind, in place of Amit Mishra. The other change made has been forced by KL Rahul's injury and therefore Rohit Sharma has been called back to replace the opener.

MSK Prasad gave an insight into the selection meeting when he announced that five major players including young Rishabh Pant and Kuldeep Yadav came very close to being selected.

"There were many challenges for us to pick a squad for a tournament in England, and we discussed several names who are unlucky to miss out," said Prasad. "The team was also selected keeping in mind the calendar after the Champions Trophy, and it is the most balanced squad we could pick. It is a mix of seniors and youngsters. The main names we discussed were Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik and Shardul Thakur. Each of them arein our standby list for the Champions Trophy. We are looking at sorting visas for them, and they will train at the NCA." 

The discussions mainly revolved around Delhi's wicketkeeper-batsman Pant and chinaman bowler KuldeepYadav out of the aforementioned five players.

"Kuldeep would have been a very solid player for us. He narrowly missed out, but has a big role to play for India in the future," he said. "Rishabh Pant was also discussed, and he is a very fine player. Its not like we don't have youngsters in the team - we have Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, who we've been grooming. We are extremely pleased with Rishabh Pant and will groom him too."

When questioned regarding the absence of a reserved wicketkeeper Prasad clarified that Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant were the leading choices but the selector's committee backed up Dhoni as the best.

"I believe MS Dhoni is still the best wicketkeeper in the world, and he offers tremendous support to Virat Kohli. When we discuss Dhoni, it is about his role as a batsman, and some of you talk about his ability not being as good as before, but we value him tremendously. If you see over the past few years, his wicketkeeping has not suffered at all. He is the best wicketkeeper we have.", Prasad said.

Speaking about Ashwin's inclusion in the squad which has been questioned by many critics on accounts of his absence in the IPL and his shabby limited-overs form, Prasad said, "It's not like Ashwin is out form. He's had time to rest and we've been grooming him for the Champions Trophy. His was not a difficult decision. He's had rest, and is not like those players who have had surgery," he said.

Shikhar Dhawan retained his spot as the opener courtesy his handsome performance in the ongoing season of IPL while Ajinkya Rahane has been kept as the reserve opener. 

"Ajinkya is the reserve opener who can be used in England," he said.

India start their title defence against Pakistan on 4th June at Edgbaston followed by matches against Sri Lanka on 8th June and South Africa on 11th June at Kennington Oval.

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