London: The Indian team selection has been faulty, and if not corrected, it could cost the Men in Blue the World Cup. This was voiced by veteran London-based cricket broadcaster and writer Ashis Ray, who has covered the game in England for 42 years as well as every World Cup since 1979.
Ray, who has recently penned a history of the tournament from an Indian perspective, 'Cricket World Cup: The Indian Challenge', said: "In the first half of an English summer, India ought to have opted for three quick bowlers - Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami - and not two spinners. The success of Shami (13 wickets in three matches) and the economy rate of Bumrah have proved that this should have been the policy from the very first match.
He asked: "Where's the turn to justify two spinners? Where's the bounce to justify two wrist spinners."
Ray added: "India seem to have been influenced by ICC players' ranking and have not adopted a policy of horses for courses. Kuldeep Yadav has been over-exposed in recent years. He doesn't pose a mystery any longer. Besides, he's hardly bowled a googly in the current competition."
Ray further pointed out: "Yadav has conceded 279 runs for five wickets in six outings, which is a disappointing return. If there's an extended dry spell, then two spinners should come in to the reckoning. In that case, one of them should be Ravindra Jadeja or a finger spinner, who generally gets the ball to grip in England."
He criticised the composition of the Indian playing eleven for the England game on Sunday by saying: "Edgbaston rarely assists spinners. Pacemen dominated both the previous matches in this World Cup. Yet India persisted with two spinners, also ignoring the short straight boundaries. Little wonder Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were slaughtered for 160 runs in their 20 overs. This is where India lost the match."
Ray has also been critical of the confusion over the number four spot in the Indian batting order. "You shouldn't be experimenting in the middle of a World Cup. Hardik Pandya was a success against South Africa and Australia and India should have persevered with him. Given extra time, he can play a longer innings and do greater damage."
In a preview of the World Cup in his book, Ray wrote: "But why the safety valve of an experienced Ajinkya Rahane was not retained after February 2018 is quite baffling."