A little over two months ago, when the team for the five-match home ODI series against Australia was decided, the choice of Rishabh Pant at the expense of Dinesh Karthik set off a debate.
The rationale behind Pant’s selection was that he had proved his worth in the Test series in England and Australia and that his natural big-hitting capabilities could result in strengthening the lower middle-order.
The time has arrived for the selectors — Jatin Paranjape and Gagan Khoda returned to the three-man committee comprising M.S.K. Prasad, Devang Gandhi and Sarandeep Singh after a Supreme Court order last August — to once again decide between Pant and Karthik.
The team for the World Cup will be named here on Monday.
Apart from solving the Pant-Karthik puzzle, the committee, along with captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri, will also have to decide on Ambati Rayudu’s fate, which seems to be hanging by a slender thread.
The 33-year-old, who failed the YoYo test and was not considered for the series in England last year, has been India’s primary No. 4 batsman, scoring 464 runs at 42.18 and an overall aggregate of 639 runs at 42.60 in 20 innings after the last Champions Trophy.
Historically India has never had a successful No. 4 in World Cup competition. Sachin Tendulkar who has scored 1,767 as opener, is also the highest at No. 4 with 400.
Having made a conscientious effort to pick the best for ODIs, starting with the tour of South Africa in early 2018, it should not be tall ask for the selectors to name the 15 for the World Cup.
Ravindra Jadeja as third spinner-all-rounder, Vijay Shankar as all-rounder and K.L. Rahul look certainties.
The BCCI has decided to announce the team eight days ahead of the deadline. It can also make modifications to the team till May 23.