K L Rahul has been exceptional for us: Ajit Agarkar

'Frankly, this is the best balance we could achieve with the players we have. This is the best squad,' Agarkar added.
Last Updated : 05 September 2023, 09:53 IST

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Rohit Sharma and chief selector Ajit Agarkar were chuffed with the squad they have picked ahead of the World Cup, but the Indian skipper’s stressing of the word ‘fitness’ showed that he did have some concerns going into the big event at home.

As if to mitigate the effects of what he had led on, Rohit bounced back by going into detail the advantages of playing the 50-over format.

“This format gives you more breathing space,” he said during the squad announcement press conference on Tuesday. “You play nine league games and a semifinal and a final so you are given that space to start badly. There’s always a nice chance for you to come back. The format also gives players time to recover and get into the groove. Also, we can strategise better. That’s not the case with T20Is so I would say this format is quite favourable.”

Diving headlong into the K L Rahul saga, Agarkar defended their decision by saying that the batter’s record insists that he be included. “See, we discussed a lot and we have had plans for a long time now, but I think the guys pretty much picked themselves,” said the former India pacer. “Yes, Ishan Kishan is very good and has had a nice run but K L has been exceptional for us over the years. He has a great track record and has the experience too. Also, he batted for nearly the duration of a 50-over game during practice in Bengaluru for a couple of days.”

“Frankly, this is the best balance we could achieve with the players we have. This is the best squad,” he added.

Rahul is expected to join the squad ahead of the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka where India will face Pakistan on October 9.

Agarkar did, however, say that they would have ideally wanted an off-spinner in the side to take the ball away from the left-handers, but added that Kuldeep can justify that role.

“Both (Ravindra) Jadeja and Axar (Patel) bring the ball into the left-handers so we would ideally want an off-spinner but this gives us the best balance. In any case, pacers do more of the work in ODIs so this is not a bad option at all.”

Pleased as they might be, Rohit expectedly offered his sympathy to those who missed out.

Published 05 September 2023, 09:53 IST

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