Opening batsman Mayank Agarwal was named as replacement for injured all-rounder Vijay Shankar in India’s 2019 World Cup squad on Monday.
Shankar had injured his toe during training before the game against Afghanistan but went on to play that game and the match against the West Indies. But he sat out the game against England on Sunday, which India lost, with Rishabh Pant playing in his place.
It is the latest injury setback for India after regular opener Shihhar Dhawan was ruled out of the tournament due to a fractured finger. Seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar too is recovering from a hamstring injury.
Shankar’s place in the team has gone to Karnataka batsman Agarwal, who has played two Tests but is yet to play an ODI.
His selection has come as a surprise as experienced middle order batsman Ambati Rayudu had been waiting in the wings. Until last year, Rayudu was the first choice number 4 batsman and did reasonably well.
After he was omitted from the World Cup squad, with the selectors going for ‘three-dimensional’ talent of Shankar, Rayudu took to social media and talked about ordering ‘3D glasses’ for the World Cup. That post didn’t go down well with the Indian management.
With KL Rahul not setting the stage alight at the top of the order, Mayank might end up making his ODI debut in this World Cup. In that case, either Rahul, Pant or Kedar Jadhav will be forced to sit out.
India vice-captain Rohit Sharma said his team needed a Ben Stokes like innings during their chase against England to come out victorious.
England beat India by 31 runs in Birmingham on Sunday, with Stokes’ 79 off 54 balls taking the total to 337-7. India could only manage 306-5 despite a ton from Rohit.
“When you’re chasing around 340 runs you need that X-factor innings of someone coming in and playing 70 off 30 or 40 balls. Hardik (Pandya) was looking good (45 off 33 balls) but he just couldn’t go on. That is something Ben Stokes did for them. He came and changed the game. We needed somebody like Ben Stokes’ innings towards the end,” Rohit said.
Sri Lanka are batting first in their World Cup clash against the West Indies.
Shannon Gabriel has replaced injured Kemar Roach in the Windies squad whereas the Sri Lankan squad has three changes to the side that lost to South Africa.
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