An annoyed Sunil Gavaskar pleaded with those questioning the Indian team selection for the upcoming Asia Cup and asserted that this 17-man squad should form the nucleus of the 15-member World Cup side. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was a notable omission from the squad, leaving India with only one wrist spinner in Kuldeep Yadav. Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja are the other spin bowling options in the squad that was named on Monday. Few also wondered why senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who is also a very useful batter lower down the order, was not picked in the side. “Yes, there are a few players who will believe that they are lucky. But the team is selected. So don’t talk about Ashwin. Stop creating controversy. This is our team now.
“If you don’t like it, don’t watch the matches but stop saying that he should have been picked or another should be there, this is a wrong mindset,” Gavaskar told ‘Aaj Tak’.
Both Jadeja and Axar have also proved their batting abilities across formats and will add depth to India’s line-up.
K L Rahul and Shreyas Iyer were also named in the team for the tournament beginning August 31 while highly-rated young batter Tilak Varma earned a maiden call-up to the one-day format.
Gavaskar believed the team selection was fair and expressed optimism ahead of the Asia Cup and the World Cup.
“Yes, absolutely (this team can win the World Cup). Who else would you have picked? I don’t think any player can claim that there has been an injustice to him. The experienced and in-form players have been selected in the 17-member Asia Cup squad,” Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar also backed the decision to pick Rahul, who has developed a new niggle and might not be available for the first match of the continental tournament against Pakistan on September 2.
“Let’s see what his injury is like. Winning the Asia Cup is important but the goal is the World Cup. So if the team management wants KL Rahul in the World Cup squad then I think it’s right that they have selected him for Asia Cup despite a niggle.
“As far as India are concerned, there are 11 days to go. That’s enough time to recover from a niggle. And there are more matches as well, right till the middle of September. I think it will be fair to give KL Rahul (a chance) after all that he has done for India in the past, to give him the opportunity to recover,” Gavaskar said.
Asked about the team’s chances of winning the World Cup and Asia Cup, Gavaskar said it’s a good side.
“The team that has been selected for the Asia Cup is a good team. We should have the 15 for the World Cup from this team only. When you play for India, every match is important. You should always strive to win every match.
“And Asia Cup is a big tournament. But winning the World Cup is totally different, that can’t be replicated by an Asia Cup win. So you have to look at the bigger picture. If they win Asia Cup, very good but the goal is to win the World Cup,” he said.
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