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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

ICC World Cup 2019 Team India Squad: MSK Prasad drops big hint about back-up pacers

ICC World Cup 2019: Though the names of the four fast bowlers who will travel to England were not named, India’s chairman of selectors MSK Prasad gave strong indications that two among them are Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini.

cricket Updated: Apr 17, 2019 12:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah are the three genuine seamers in the Indian squad
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah are the three genuine seamers in the Indian squad(PTI)
         

A quick scan through India’s ICC World Cup 2019 squad, announced on Monday is enough to instill fear into the opposition. Gone are the days when India were only regarded as a batting-heavy unit. Their World Cup 15 has the world’s best fast bowler - Jasprit Bumrah, two seamers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami who walk into any side and two wrist spinners – Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal – who can turn the game on its head by picking wickets in a cluster in the middle overs of the game.

Apart from KulCha as Kuldeep and Chahal are popularly known as, India have spinning options in Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav who can easily slip in 10 overs without giving much leeway to the batting side. The same, however, cannot be said about the depth of India’s fast bowling unit.

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True, that in Bumrah, Shami and Bhuvneshwar, India perhaps have one of most fearsome new-ball attacks in the world but what beyond them? All eyes then move to Hardik Pandya, who is a good enough fourth seamer and that’s it. India’s surprise pick Viay Shankar has been picked more because of his batting skills than his military medium, leaving India a bit thin on the seam bowling department on English conditions, which are expected to assist the medium pacers due to the overcast conditions in the month of June and July (World Cup begins from May 30).

Perhaps that’s why the selectors decided to take four back-up seamers who will travel with India’s squad. They will serve the twin purpose of being net bowlers and be the reserves for India’s main fast bowler, in case an injury occurs to any of them.

Though the names of the four fast bowlers who will travel to England were not named, India’s chairman of selectors MSK Prasad gave strong indications that two among them are Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini.

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“Khaleel Ahmed’s name also came up for discussion. Along with him, we also discussed Navdeep Saini. So they will be in and around, and if the need arises, definitely one among them will get picked.”

Even before India’s last home series against Australia, Khaleel was being pipped as one of the front runners to bag the fourth seamer’s slot because of his left-arm angle. But a string of unimpressive performance and inability to pull the plug when the batsmen are on charge saw the young left-armer slowly go out of contention. But as Prasad indicated, Khaleel is sure to be in and around.

Saini, on the other hand, have made rapid strides ever since playing a crucial role in Delhi’s run to the final in Ranji Trophy 2017-18. His raw pace and ability to extract bounce from awkward lengths even drew praise from his RCB captain Virat Kohli, who has used Saini as his main weapon in the ongoing IPL.

The other two seamers are most likely to be Umesh Yadav and Deepak Chahar. A official confirmation on the same is however, still awaited.

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 17:44 IST