India have announced their squad for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy after all the uncertainty over the team’s participation in the tournament. While several consistent performers were retained in the squad, there were some who, it was felt in popular opinion, deserved a spot but missed out on playing the prestigious tournament.
The names that come to mind immediately are Rishab Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Gautam Gambhir, and Suresh Raina, and during the press conference, it was only obvious that questions were raised regarding a few omissions from the squad.
Pant has been in sublime form of late, and his innings of 97 off 43 against the Gujarat Lions had the fans in awe. He was also the fourth-highest run-scorer in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy, amassing 972 runs from 8 games at a strike-rate of 107.28.
“We are completely impressed with Rishabh Pant. But he missed out because of squad combination. We will groom him for the future,” Prasad said when asked about Pant’s omission.
Kuldeep Yadav, who made it to the Test squad for the series against Australia, and also performing well in the IPL, would have hoped to get picked in the squad. But that didn’t happen either.
“Kuldeep would have been a very solid player for us. He narrowly missed out, but has a big role to play for India in the future,” Prasad said.
Prasad further justified the inclusion of MS Dhoni, saying he is still the best wicketkeeper in the world.
Prasad commented, “I believe MS Dhoni is still the best wicketkeeper in the world, and he offers tremendous support to Virat Kohli. When we discuss Dhoni, it is about his role as a batsman, and some of you talk about his ability not being as good as before, but we value him tremendously.”
The 50-overs tournament begins on June 1 in England. India will play its first match on June 4 against Pakistan.