DUBAI: India coach
on Wednesday said he would have preferred a 16-member World Cup squad instead of the mandated 15 and urged those who missed out on “not lose heart”.
India on Monday announced a 15-strong squad for the mega-event, starting May 30 in the United Kingdom, and the omissions of young keeper-batsman
triggered a debate on the choices made by the selectors.
Shastri steered clear of commenting on the furore.
“I do not get involved in selection. If we have any opinion, we let the captain know,” Shastri said.
“When you only have 15 to pick, there is bound to be someone who misses out, which is very unfortunate. I would prefer the 16 players. We have mentioned that the ICC is that a tournament in that long, 16 players sense. But the diktat was 15, “he added.
Shastri said those who missed the final 15
“They (who missed out) should not lose heart. There was an injury. So you never know when you could be called,” he said.
When pressed on Vijay Shankar’s selection for the No.4 slot months after captain
Rayudu as the front-runner for the position, Shastri said the spot remains a flexible one.
“Total flexibility (on No. 4 position) depends on conditions, opposition. I would say the top three … but after that you can be very flexible,” he said.
Shastri also brushed aside criticism that India would be very dependable.
“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. To be in top two or three for five years in a row, No1 in tests, again top three in T20 cricket … you can not depend on one player, “he asserted
“You have that kind of consistent record, you need a bunch of players performing all the time.” Due credit to the team, “he said.
Speaking in general about the marquee tournament in the UK, Shastri gave the favourites’ tag to England.
“England has been the most consistent team over the last two years. They have multi-dimensional players. They have depth in bowling and batting. And they are playing at home. So they are favored as the start of,” Shastri said.
“But there are so many teams that can beat any team on a given day. In a tournament like the World Cup, you have got your game every game,” he added.