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It's Pant vs Karthik as India pick 15 for WC on Monday

IANS  |  New Delhi 

The five wise men of Indian cricket, led by M.S.K. Prasad, will meet in on Monday to pick the squad for in England. While most of the players pick themselves, thanks to their consistent show in recent times, there are three main areas of concern that the selectors need to take a call on when they sit down to pick the 15-member squad.

The much-debated number four slot, whether Rishabh Pant or go as the second wicket-keeper behind and finally, if the team will pick a fourth pacer or an additional third spinner considering that the wickets will be on the slower side at this time of the year in England.

Starting with the number four slot, while there have been talks ranging from Ambati Rayudu, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer, it could well be that the team management will continue with the recent experiment of playing at the number four slot with Rahul being drafted as the official back-up opener as well as the answer to all the other top-order batting slots if and when any of the other batsman in the top line-up is injured or out of form.

Former has also spoken about how Rahul can fit into any position in the batting order considering he is an opener and that his IPL form is something that cannot be ignored. Interestingly, former opener has also proposed the name of Sanju Samson. But the and Rajasthan Royals batsman has just not been consistent enough.

With the team management making it clear after the Nidahas Trophy that Rahul will be seen primarily as the third opener, he will only walk into the team as the back-up opener and not as a number four batsman. The fact that Shankar has continued to bat at number three or four in this (IPL) for the Sunrisers is another hint that the team management might have asked him to carry on batting at the top.

While he told IANS on Friday that the move in the IPL wasn't aimed at sealing the number four spot in the showpiece event, he does look like one of the favourites to seal the much-debated spot in Indian cricket at present.

What this also means is that the likes of Shreyas Iyer or Ajinkya Rahane will be out of the equation. While Iyer has been scoring heavily without the selectors acknowledging his efforts, Rahane has somehow failed to get the backing of the selectors even though he has proved himself whenever given an opportunity. In fact, he was a hit in the middle-order in the last ODI series that he played against

The rest of the batsmen pick themselves with and starting at the top, followed by Virat Kohli, and Hardik Pandya fits in as the all-rounder who will also be looked at as a finisher.

Now the dilemma of the second wicket-keeper. This is another position that the selectors need to solve. They need to decide whether to pick or Rishabh Pant. While Pant the batsman is seen to have the X-factor that is needed to provide the push going into the later stages of the game, Karthik is considered a more and one who would be able to keep calm on the big stage like

Who between the two finally seals the second wicket-keeper's spot is likely to be the most discussed topic during the meeting on Monday. Pant also has the backing of the recent show in the IPL where he has impressed all with his hitting prowess.

After this comes the bowlers and while the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal pick themselves, the pace attack will undoubtedly have Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and

But here comes the third and final issue. While there have been talks of adding the fourth pacer, some in the team management also feel that three pacers are enough as Pandya can always act as the fourth bowler.

With the wickets likely to be more on the slower side in England during (May to July), the team management is toying with the idea of dropping the idea of picking another pacer and drafting Ravindra Jadeja into the team. While he is known to be a brilliant fielder, his batting will also ensure that the lower-order looks better on paper.

If the team still does look at the extra pacer, could be the dark horse. But for now it looks like Jadeja is leading the race.

While both Prasad and have made it amply clear that players' performance in the IPL will not be considered, sources in the know of developments told IANS that it will indeed be difficult to ignore some of the breathtaking knocks played by the likes of Rahul and Pant among others.

India's 15-member World Cup Squad (likely): Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik/Rishabh Pant.

(Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at baidurjo.b@ians.in)

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, April 14 2019. 09:18 IST
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