Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri says that Rishabh Pant and Ambati Rayudu shouldn't lose heart after they failed to make it to the World Cup 2019 squad, announced recently. "When you only have 15 to pick, there is bound to be someone or the other who misses out, which is very unfortunate,” Ravi Shastri was quoted by icc-cricket.com. He also added that he would've preferred a 16-man squad for a long tournament like the World Cup.
Asked whether he had any say in players' selection, he denied his direct involvement in players' selection. He said, “If we (the team management) have an opinion, we let the captain know”.
One thing he did address was the selection headache at No. 4 which has three candidates in form of MS Dhoni, Vijay Shankar and KL Rahul. Addressing the issue, the commentator-turned-coach said, “Total flexibility depending on conditions and opposition”.
Shastri also rubbished all claims that Indian batting order is top-heavy and is too reliant on its top-three of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Virat Kohli.
He countered such claims saying, “If you look at the last five years, the way the Indian team has performed, they have always been in the top two or three”. He explained, “To be in top two or three for five years in a row, No.1 in Tests, again top three in T20I cricket, you can't depend on one player, you need a bunch of players performing all the time. Due credit to the team.”
The former India all-rounder tipped England to start as favourites. “England have been the most consistent team over the last two years,” said Shastri – before adding that given the format of the tournament, “there are so many teams that can beat any team on a given day.”