The global carnival of cricket is all set to host the 12th edition of the biggest cricketing tournament, featuring the world’s top 10 cricketing nations battling out for the ultimate glory. The passion, the craze, the thrill, the excitement and the adrenaline, we spectators experience during this mega event is profoundly immeasurable. But, there is another nerve breaking phase, not amongst the fans but among the players before the deadline of announcement for the most awaited 15 member contingent who will represent their respective countries in the most prestigious tournament.
The deadline date for selecting the primary squad has already approached and almost all the teams have named their primary 15-member squad for the World Cup 2019. Selectors and analysts who take this responsibility to send their best 15 to represent their country, with the hope of getting the trophy home sometimes break the norms of stature and experience and choose players considering their recent form and role.
Almost all the teams have named their primary 15 member squad and while most of the players picked by the teams were on the expected lines, a few players were surprising inclusions into the squads. Also, there were some of the big players who were axed from the squad as the selectors of respective boards decided to look for options beyond them. “Xploresports” lists out 5 big names who were excluded from the quadrennial tournament.
#5 Mohammad Amir (Pakistan)
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) named five pacers in their World Cup squad in England but excluded the experienced and the controversial seamer Mohammad Amir. He is someone who is usually lethal in such conditions as there is swing on offer for him. But, his form and number saw a decline since last year. In 101 overs bowled since the Champions Trophy, Amir has five wickets at an average of 92.60, the poorest numbers for any bowler who has bowled over 600 balls in this time frame.
Amir had taken 55 wickets in 36 matches till the final against India two years back. Those wickets had come at an average of 27.41 and a strike rate of 33.90. Since then, the average is in the 90s and the strike rate in the 120s. The only metric that has improved is his economy but you need wickets from a strike bowler and Amir was failing on that count. He went wicketless in two of the five series he was involved in since the Champions Trophy. In one other – against Zimbabwe – he picked up just one wicket in three matches. In all of these series, he averaged 50 or more. Considering how Pakistani pacers have performed since the Champions Trophy, it is no surprise that Amir was excluded.
#4 Peter Handscomb (Australia)
Peter Handscomb has a one-day record that puts him among 2019’s best batsmen and would likely have him embedded in the middle-order of almost any other side in this year’s World Cup but the return of the big boys, Steve Smith and David Warner has resulted “brutally unlucky” for the Victorian cricketer. Despite a 2019 ODI average of 43.54 and the best strike rate (98.15) of anyone in the top six run-scorers this year, Handscomb was squeezed out of Australia’s World Cup squad. He scored 479 runs in 13 matches played in 2019 and smashed one hundred, three fifties in these 13 games. Moreover, he scored these runs at a strike rate of 98 and was highly impressive. He would also double up as a wicket-keeping option for the Aussies, but the committee decided to exclude the youngster from the squad.
#3 Dinesh Chandimal (Sri Lanka)
Dinesh Chandimal was one of the biggest names to be omitted from the World Cup squad. Chandimal led the Sri Lankan ODI team as recently till their home series against England on October 2018 and he was expected to lead the Sri Lankan contingent during the World Cup 2019. On the pretext of lack of big runs, and failed captaincy as the side suffered some of the worst losses, the board decided to exclude someone with immense potential and talent.
He has aggregated just 863 runs in 27 matches across the three formats since 2018 at a middling average of 31.96 with just one hundred and three fifties. Post-2017, Chandimal has scored just 566 runs in 24 innings at a paltry average of 24.6 and strike rate of 66.35, including just two fifties in this time-frame. Amongst the nine Sri Lankan batsmen who have scored at least 500 runs during this period, Chandimal’s batting average is the second-lowest and marginally higher than bottom-ranked Kusal Mendis. But his recent form has been poor with as many as 6 single-digit scores in his last 10 Test innings resulting in exclusion from the World cup squad.
#2 Jofra Archer (England)
The Barbados-born 24-year-old pacer who has impressed the entire cricketing world was excluded from England’s preliminary ICC World Cup 2019 squad. However, he is included for next month’s ODI in Ireland and a T20I and five ODIs against Pakistan, potentially giving him seven outings to make his case into the final squad. Untested, Jofra Archer was the only high-level player to benefit when the England and Wales Cricket Board decided in November to alter residency rules to be eligible to play for England.
He has had a quite interesting season playing for his franchise Rajasthan Royal in IPL 2019 but England Cricket Board (ECB) deferred any speculation and went with their unchanged 15 for the ICC’s preliminary deadline. The subject of much debate among England’s squad will only be cleared over time but as of now, Jofra Archer has been excluded from the tournament.
#1 Ambati Rayudu (India)
The right handed-batsmen was the first in the race to seal the much debated No.4 spot. Until 2018, it was almost decided that Ambati Rayudu would fill the vacant slot and was also given enough opportunities by the board to prove himself. However, he didn’t seem to be in good touch during the Australia and New Zealand tours. He exposed his incapability of facing quality pace. Rayudu couldn’t do any better at the IPL and Vijay Shankar was preferred over Rayadu for the Indian squad. Rayudu played 10 ODIs in 2019. He only managed to score 247 runs at an average of 31 and this included a high score of 90. Moreover, he bagged two ducks and his strike rate of 75 wasn’t impressive either.
This is what we believe, were the 5 heartbreaking exclusions from the World Cup. Although the final squad will be released on or before May 23rd. Few of the above-listed players have also been named as backup players for the tournament. Any injury or change in decision by the selectors will see them prevail into the final squad!