New Delhi: Even as everyone has spoken about how both Rishabh Pant and Ambati Rayudu have been gifted a fresh lease of life by being named on India’s standby list for the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales, the one name that has surprised is pacer Ishant Sharma. Pant, Rayudu, Navdeep Saini, Ishant and Axar Patel are the reserves named by the Indian selectors for the showpiece event.

A BCCI official on Thursday said that the five players have been informed that they are on the standby list and they should be ready to take the flight if and when needed. Interestingly, Saini will already be in England with the team to help the batsmen prepare for the tournament.

“Ishant, Axar, Pant, Rayudu and Saini are aware that they have been named standby.” said the official. “The board has informed them about this and while four of them won’t be travelling with the team like Saini, they have been asked to be ready to jump onto the plane whenever needed.

“We were looking at two batsmen, two pacers and a spinner when we decided to name the standby players. As you are aware, this year’s format will see every team competing against every other team in the tournament and covering the bases is very important in such long format tournaments.”

Ishant has had an epic journey. From winning India the final of the Champions Trophy in England in 2013 to being left out of the IPL last season, the Test pace spearhead has had a tough ride.

However, the fast bowler took it in his stride, went to play county cricket and returned a matured bowler. Even in this edition of the IPL, Ishant has shown the ability to bowl a great line and length, not getting flustered by the batsman’s attempt to hit fifth gear.

The BCCI official said that his evolving as a bowler over the last year is one of the major reasons why the team believes that he can be the answer if one from the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami gets injured during the World Cup.

“You cannot buy experience in the market,” he said. “Moreover, Ishant has matured as a bowler and knows what is required of him. Considering the magnanimity of the tournament, it was felt that he could be the best bet to come in and soak the pressure that comes with playing for the country on the big stage. He has done it in the past and considering how he has excelled over the last year, he can do it again.”