Former captain Gautam Gambhir has branded Ambati Rayudu’s exclusion from India’s World Cup squad as ‘heartbreaking’ and has said that he understands what it is like being in this situation.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Monday, announced their 15-man squad for the grand tournament – to be held in England and Wales – and while there were some obvious inclusions, a couple of selections ignited some healthy debate amongst the faithful.
One amongst those was Rayudu’s exclusion, who was tipped by many as India’s answer for their number four woes. Speaking about the selection, Gambhir explained how Rayudu’s expulsion is unfortunate and heartbreaking.
"I think there should be no debate about Rishabh Pant's exclusion but more about Ambati Rayudu," Gambhir told PTI during an interview on Tuesday.
"It is very, very unfortunate that someone averaging 48 in white-ball cricket and is only 33 has been left out. That for me is more heartbreaking than any other selection decision," he added.
It was back in 2007 that Gambhir found himself in a similar situation, being rejected by the selectors for the World Cup in West Indies. Speaking in the context, the 37-year-old added,
"I feel sorry for him as I was in a similar position in 2007, when they (erstwhile selectors) didn't pick me and I know how difficult it is not being picked for the World Cup. Ultimately for any young kid, it is a childhood dream to be a part of the big event. So, I feel more sorry for Rayudu more than any other cricketer, who hasn't been picked."
Apart from Rayudu, selection of Dinesh Karthik over Rishabh Pant was the highlight as well, but Gambhir believes that it is not a setback for the latter given that he failed to capitalize the chances he was afforded over the tenure.
"This is not a setback at all. Why is it a setback? He has not consistently been part of white-ball cricket. He got his opportunity but unfortunately couldn't grab it. So it cannot be termed a setback," said Gambhir.