Excluded from main squad; Pant, Rayudu named India's standbys for World Cup
New Delhi: Young wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant and veteran batsman Ambati Rayudu were on Wednesday named among the standbys for India's World Cup squad, reigniting their dashed hopes of making the trip to the UK in case an injury setback hits the side.
Speedster Navdeep Saini also found a place in the list of three back-ups for the mega-event starting on May 30.
Pant and Rayudu's exclusion from the squad of 15 had created quite a stir on Monday. While Sunil Gavaskar called Pant's omission surprising, the snub to Rayudu was questioned by Gautam Gambhir.
With the ICC doing away with the practice of letting countries announce a probables' list before the final squad, the BCCI also has the option of including anyone apart from these three but it is unlikely to happen.
"Just like ICC Champions Trophy, we have three standbys. Rishabh Pant and Ambati Rayudu are the first and second standbys while Saini is the bowler in the list. So if anyone gets injured, as per requirement, one of the three will be going," a senior BCCI official told PTI on Wednesday. Rayudu took to Twitter to take a dig at his omission from the squad of 15 on Tuesday.
"Just Ordered a new set of 3d glasses to watch the world cup," Rayudu wrote on his twitter handle Tuesday.
This was after chairman of selectors MSK Prasad justified preferring Vijay Shankar over Rayudu, citing the former's "three-dimensional qualities". While Khaleel Ahmed, Avesh Khan and Deepak Chahar will be travelling with the team purely as net bowlers, they can also be drafted in if the management feels so.
"Khaleel, Avesh and Deepak are not designated standbys. In case of bowlers, that possibility is there but when it comes purely to batsmen, it will be either Rishabh or Rayudu," the official said.