Dubai: Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir on Thursday said India’s fifteen-member World Cup squad needs an additional quality pacer.
“I feel Indian team lacks one more quality fast bowler. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar need more support. You may argue that India has two fast bowling all-rounders in Hardik (Pandya) and Vijay Shankar but I am not convinced,” International Cricket Council (ICC) quoted Gambhir, as saying.
Bumrah has been the key weapon in the bowling scheme of things for India and Gambhir reckons the bowler will once again be the trump card for India and his form will be crucial for its chances in the World Cup.
“The wickets are going to be very flat and it’s going to be hot. So how Jasprit Bumrah bowls will decide where India reaches because it’s going to be a high-scoring World Cup,” Gambhir said.
The selectors did not pick Ambati Rayudu in the fifteen-member team. Chief selector MSK Prasad at the time of announcing the squad had said Vijay Shankar will most likely play at number four position, with KL Rahul being the backup option for that spot.
However, Gambhir is of the view that Rahul is the best-suited batsman to play at number four position, considering his technique.
“I feel Rahul is best suited for No.4 spot because he has got the technique, he has got the ability to win you games. I know that is not the position you would have preferred, but I have always believed one thing you only put yourself in the playing XI ultimately it is the team management who decide,” Gambhir said.
Gambhir played a key role in India’s World Cup triumph in 2011 as he scored a knock of 97 runs in the finals against Sri Lanka. The player said that Australia has one of the best bowling attacks going into the World Cup this time around.
The left-handed batsman also praised the tournament’s format this time as the World Cup will be played between the top ten teams. The tournament will be played in a round-robin format with every team taking on each other before the semi-finals stage.
“With Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, David Warner, and Steve Smith coming back, they’re probably the side to beat. In any ICC tournament, if you beat Australia, you’re right up there because they know how to play big matches,” Gambhir said.
“This will be a well-contested tournament as all the teams play each other. This format will give us the real world champion and I think ICC should stick to this format for all future World Cups,” he added.
Indian fifteen-member squad for World Cup: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Kartik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bumrah , Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami.
India takes on New Zealand (May 25) and Bangladesh (May 28) in the warm-up matches before the World Cup.
The 50-over tournament will take place in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14. India will open their World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5.