In a late-night development, the senior national selection committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) unveiled the 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup. Notably, KL Rahul secured his place in the team, while Sanju Samson was left out.
The selection committee, headed by Ajit Agarkar, journeyed to Sri Lanka for a crucial meeting with Indian captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid to make the squad selection. This meeting took place after the India vs. Pakistan Asia Cup encounter in Kandy, which was ultimately washed out following the completion of the first innings.
Besides Samson, Tilak Varma and Prasidh Krishna, who are presently in Sri Lanka for the ongoing Asia Cup, were also excluded from the World Cup squad.
Rohit Sharma will captain the team, and following his impressive performances in the middle-order, Ishan Kishan secured his spot in the squad. Alongside Captain Sharma, the formidable batting lineup includes Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, and Suryakumar Yadav.
The squad also features versatile allrounders, namely Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, and Shardul Thakur, emphasizing the team’s batting depth.
A noteworthy discussion during the selection committee meeting concerned Rahul’s fitness. After receiving clearance from the medical team, Rahul was included in the squad. Rahul’s extensive net practice and hours spent at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru played a pivotal role in his selection. It has been reported that he will soon join the Indian team in the ongoing Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.
Initially, BCCI had set a deadline of September 5 to submit the final World Cup squad to the International Cricket Council (ICC). The selection committee had initially planned to convene on September 4, but with Rahul’s medical green light, they opted not to delay the decision.
Rahul, a mainstay in the starting XI and potentially the designated wicketkeeper in the World Cup, recently recovered from a right thigh surgery that kept him sidelined for the past three and a half months.
In a previous press conference, Agarkar had explained that Rahul had encountered a minor injury, prompting the selection of Sanju Samson as a backup option. He had expressed hope that Rahul would regain fitness, ideally in time for the Asia Cup’s initial matches, if not the later ones.
Addressing concerns about Rahul’s ability to keep wickets, Agarkar remained optimistic, emphasizing Rahul’s role as a wicketkeeper-batsman and his significance to the team.
Agarkar had hinted earlier that the World Cup squad would be chosen from the 18-member Asia Cup squad, and as anticipated, there were no significant surprises in the final selection.