Former India batsman Mohammad Kaif while referring to the inclusion of Mayank Agarwal, on Tuesday said that the number of matches being played should be considered as a factor to be selected in India’s World Cup squad. “The only problem I have with players is that I need to see how many matches they have been playing regularly. Whether they are in touch or not, ” Kaif told ANI on the sidelines of Major League Baseball event in the capital. Top-order batsman Mayank replaced all-rounder Vijay Shankar in the 15-man squad as Shankar was ruled out after sustaining a toe injury. Mayank has featured in two Tests and is yet to make an ODI debut.
Kaif further said Rishabh Pant, who made his World Cup debut against England, is not used to the handling the pressure at the ongoing marquee event in the UK. “Same thing with Rishabh Pant. Of course, he had some practice session but the only factor is that he is not in touch of the condition so much and handling the pressure,” Kaif said. India’s unbeaten winning streak at the ongoing tournament ended as they fell 31 runs short of England’s mighty target 338 runs.
The former batsman, however, came in support of the team, saying India fought well and they just had a bad day. He also praised England for playing really well in their must-win match. “India played well. They just lost one game so it’s not a big deal. Any team can lose one game. They’ve been playing well. If you talk about batsman, chasing 338 is a big task. It’s not happened in the World Cup so far. India just had a bad day. England played really well. There was a saying they are tournament favourites, ” he remarked.
KL Rahul has been promoted to open in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, who was ruled out earlier due to a left-hand injury. When asked should Rahul return to the much-talked-about position, Kaif dodged the question, saying, “I don’t know what’s the plan. Let’s see. I can’t say. Even Kohli doesn’t know.” India needs to win one of its two remaining matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, respectively, to secure semi-finals berth. Kaif said that the national team is balanced and players are in form. He also stressed that injury cannot be helped but India have got back up players who can do the job well.
“We have a balanced side and players are in form. There are just a few areas where India need to work on. There have been injury concerns like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vijay Shankar is out. Injury cannot be helped but I think we have got the backups, ” Kaif said.