Shankar's bowling will be handy in England: Ganguly

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday backed Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar to do well in the upcoming World Cup, saying his bowling would come in handy in the English conditions.

There has been debate over Shankar being picked in the England-bound India team ahead of Ambati Rayudu, with the selectors saying they went for the "three-dimensional skills" offered by the Tamil Nadu player.

"Vijay Shankar will do well. He is a good young cricketer. His bowling will come handy. Let's not be too negative about him. He has got a place because he has played in Australia and New Zealand and done well," Ganguly, who is advisor to IPL team Delhi Capitals told PTI in an interaction.

The former skipper also said that talented Rishabh Pant, who has been ignored for this edition, should not feel depressed about his non-selection.

"Yes, Pant also could have been part of this side but he need not worry. He has many more years. He is just 20, he will play a few World Cups."

Asked if India could go all the way with three front-line pacemen, Ganguly said that's the way the team wants to play with an all-rounder at number 7.

"Pandya is the first choice. If he gets injured, then (Ravindra) Jadeja. That allows them to play three fast bowlers. If anybody gets injured it is just a 10-hour flight," he added.

On the 50-overs World Cup, Ganguly said this edition could be very competitive due the format, where all teams play each other in the league stage.

"This format was last tried in 1992 when everyone played everyone. In the past we felt there were one or two weak ones. This time it is not so. West Indies is strong, Australia is back to where they were, New Zealand is strong, India is strong. And Pakistan played very well in England," he added.

To a question if Kuldeep Yadav's loss of form during the ongoing IPL was a cause for concern with the World Cup round the corner, Ganguly said the Eden Gardens strip didn't have much in it for the spinners and backed the Chinaman bowler to come back well.

The former Bengal cricketer, who has taken over as the advisor at DC this season, credited the players for the way they have performed and sealing a spot in the playoffs.

"I think a lot of credit should go the people who play in the XI. Because we guide them and try to help, try to keep them in a good frame of mind, keep the good confidence going. Even when I was the captain, it is the the XI that matters. The real credit should go to the players."

About the standout performers for the Delhi team, which has reached the playoffs after a gap of seven years, Ganguly said everyone had done well.

"I think everybody has played well, that's why you get there. Shikhar (Dhawan) has been outstanding. Rishabh Pant whenever he has got away from Delhi on good pitches, hard pitches where there is carry, he has been exceptional with the bat.

"Shreyas Iyer has been exceptional as a young captain. He has been brilliant with the bat under pressure. Axar Patel, Rabada has been superb.

"Ishant Sharma has been a revelation. A lot of people felt he was a Test match bowler but to come up and do well in T20s at this stage of the career shows you can turn it on any time you want." 

 

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