Former Indian keeper Ajay Ratra has sympathized with Ambati Rayudu on his World Cup exclusion but quickly added that Vijay Shankar’s selection is an inspired one. Ratra has further added that India can use MS Dhoni as a floater in the batting order depending on the match situations.
For Ambati Rayudu, life has been a roller coaster ride in the last
Shankar, who was a late draft in to the side for the Australia series after Hardik Pandya was banned, has managed to play some impactful innings whenever he got a chance to bat. a tally of 145 runs in five innings accentuated his progress in the pecking order. The fact that he is a superb fielder and a proper sixth bowler may have finally ended BCCI's four-year long search of a perfect man for the occasion. Looking at the scenario, Ratra said, although he was sad for Rayudu, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder’s selection adds value to the combination.
“I feel very sad for Rayudu. He played some interesting innings for India in the past. But I also feel it is also
One of the things that had left the cricket fans divided was the selection of Dinesh Karthik ahead of Rishabh Pant. Chairman of the national selection committee MSK Prasad revealed that the keeping abilities were the major reason behind Karthik’s selection because they were only looking for a back-up for MS Dhoni in case he suffers any injury in the middle of the tournament. Ratra also backed Prasad's thought-process and said Karthik’s selection was a well-thought-out one.
“It must be a very close call between Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant. But Karthik gets the edge as far as wicket-keeping and experience. Although Pant is improving well as a keeper, I feel, DK’s selection was a well thought out one because of the sheer skill you need in World Cup,” Ratra added.
Karthik has been very inconsistent for team India whenever he got a chance and much of it has to do with the fact that he never had a fixed batting position. Coming mostly down the order, he essayed the role of a finisher a lot, which means big scores still eluded him. Ratra said Karthik’s performances should be judged on that prism.
“Karthik was batting down the order many a time - sometimes at No.5 or No.6. More often than not, it is difficult to score the first 20 runs. Once he scores the first 20 runs, it becomes easy to convert them to good scores. But Karthik comes in either at a position when the team were chasing or most of the job
“Even if you look at Nidahas Trophy final, he scored 25 runs off just 9 balls. If he is playing these kinds of innings, then it is okay not to hit a big one. These performances in the lower-middle order helps the team in a way that would be very helpful at times. If you look at the IPL, all the top scorers like David Warner, KL Rahul, Johnny Bairstow and Chris Gayle, all are openers. It is fine if DK does give you that option in the middle-order. As far as keeping is concerned, definitely he is a better prospect and someone who holds the key against spinners in the middle overs behind the stumps.”
Despite India being blessed with the best top three batsmen in the world, the race for the No.4 spot is not yet finalised. If the team selection has anything to go by, then Vijay Shankar might get the nod in the playing XI ahead of KL Rahul, who MSK Prasad called a "back-up opener" in the team announcement press conference. However, Ratra is of the opinion that the No.4 should be flexible and the timing of MS Dhoni’s batting should also depend on the match situation.
“Batting order should always remain flexible all the time and should change as per the situations. However, instead of No. 4, the timing MSD going out to bat should matter the most. If only two batsmen were out in 40 overs, I would prefer Hardik Pandya to come in instead of Vijay Shankar or MS Dhoni. As per conditions, the batting order can be altered,” the 38-year-old, who represented India in Six Test matches and 12 ODIs, said.
During all ICC trophies,
“In English summer, spinners will have a say, especially when the wicket will dry down in the second half. Then the management has to think whom to play and whom not to. If Hardik and Bhubaneswar are playing, Virat Kohli can go with both the wrist-spinners and in case Bhuvi doesn't play, then the team can have Ravindra Jadeja to extend the batting depth of the team,” the former Indian wicket-keeper concluded.