India’s World Cup squad selection was criticised for leaving out players like Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant. After Pant’s performances in recently-concluded Indian Premier League, former cricketers like Sourav Ganguly, Michael Vaughan and Ricky Ponting believe that the wicketkeeper-batsman should have been on the flight to England. Despite the criticism, India’s head coach Ravi Shastri believes that the squad is balanced and have players for every situation.
“We are a flexible team. It’s horses for courses, we have got enough ammunition. We have got enough players who can bat at 4. So, I am not really worried about that. I think we have got all bases covered. Last thing you want is passengers on the tour. You want to have in those 15 players … who can play anytime, at any given time.” Shastri said in an interview to CricketNext.
The 56-year-old feels the squad has enough players if any player gets injured, “If there is a major injury to a fast bowler, there will be a replacement almost straight away,” he added.
India will start their World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5. The only problem ahead of World Cup is all-rounder Kedar Jadhav’s injury during IPL. Also, there are concerns over Kuldeep Yadav whose confidence was dented in IPL, playing for Kolkata Knight Riders, taking just 4 wickets in the tournament. But Shastri does not consider it a problem as he said, “it doesn’t worry me at all.”
“In-fact I am totally blanked out from that. When the flight takes off on the 22nd, (May) we will see who are the 15 on that and just take it from there. Luckily in Kedar’s case, there is no fracture so we will wait and watch. There is still time so it should be ok,” he said.
Shastri is open to making changes as the situation demands rather than having a rigid plan throughout the tournament. “In these big tournaments…. You go with the flow, you react spontaneously to different situations and the four years that have gone in between the World Cup, that’s what prepares teams,” he said.
The World Cup-winning member picked West Indies and Australia as surprise packages for the tournament given their performances in recent times.
“When they (West Indies) were in India, I said we might have beaten them but we had a tough series and they played some excellent cricket. And I said that at the given time, there was no (Chris) Gayle, there was no (Andre) Russell in that side,” Shastri said.
“I said watch out for this side, they have serious talent and I was very happy about that. Because you have played in the glory days of West Indies against some of the best players to have played the game and then the country has gone through some real debacles.”
“The power hitting there is something that no team comes close. When it comes to the sheer ability to hit sixes, they are way up the ladder there.”
He is not willing to underestimate defending champions Australia, who have had their fair share of problems in the past year.
“You would expect that from Australia. They have won more World Cups than any other team in the last 25 years. There is never an Australian team which is not competitive. And now they have got all their players back and they seem to be in pretty good form but then again in the World Cup it is that given day,” Shastri said.