The announcement of 15-man World Cup squad of Indian cricket team is scheduled to take place on Monday and all eyes will be on the players who will be selected for the marquee event starting in England on May 30.
The selectors will meet in Mumbai on Monday to brainstorm over the selection of second wicketkeeper, the player for number four slot and the need for an additional pacer. It may be recalled that after the end of the home series against Australia, skipper Virat Kohli had hinted that the core of the team has been decided and only one slot was up for grabs.
Experts maintain that the highlight of the discussion will be Rishabh Pant’s competition for the second keeper’s slot with Dinesh Karthik. Going by the current form young Pant has an advantage over Karthik but if the selectors will go for experience then Karthik is the obvious choice.
Pant's fans will say that he is capable of batting at any slot between Nos 1 and 7 and since he is a left-hander he can add variety to the batting line-up. On the other hand, Karthik is a slightly better keeper against spinner which makes his case strong too.
It is also possible that the selectors would go for K L Rahul, who can also keep wickets and is in good form in the Indian Premier League too. If Rahul gets included in the squad as the second keeper then it would allow the selectors to look at Ambati Rayudu as the specialist No. 4 batsman. But if the selectors would consider all-rounder Vijay Shankar for the No. 4 slot then Rayudu will have no chance of making it to the team.
One more thing which the selectors will need to discuss is the fourth specialist seamer becuase the presence of quality seamers in the side is always a bonus for any side.
Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are set to make it to the squad but the door is wide open for the fourth seamer. Ishant Sharma, Navdeep Saini, Umesh Yadav and Deepak Chahar are all in the race for fourth pacer plot.
Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja
15th member (options)
If 2nd keeper: Dinesh Karthik/Rishabh Pant
If specialist No 4: Ambati Rayudu
If 4th pacer: Umesh Yadav/Khaleel Ahmed/Ishant Sharma/Navdeep Saini.
(with PTI inputs)