Two days after the T20 World Cup squad announcement, Indian cricket team captain Rohit Sharma and BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar addressed journalists on the chosen members. Rinku Singh, KL Rahul and Shubman Gill were the most notable absentees from the 15-member squad and Agarkar opened up on the subject.  The exclusion of Rinku, who has scored 356 runs at an average of 89 and strike rate of 176.24 in T20Is for India, became a major talking point since the Indian team’s announcement two days ago and has caused a massive furore on social media.

“It (not picking Rinku) is probably the toughest thing we have had to discuss. He has done nothing wrong, not even Shubman Gill for that matter. It is not his fault that he missed out. It’s about combinations,” Agarkar said during a press conference.

“A couple of wrist spinners were included to give Rohit (Sharma) more options. There are two keepers, we needed an extra bowler. It’s just unfortunate. He’s in the reserves, so that tells you how close he came into being in the 15. But at the end of the day, you can only pick 15 players in the squad.”.

Rinku, who is not having a great IPL season as he is not getting to face enough balls, though made it to the list of reserves. Rinku had been fast-tracked into the Indian T20I team after a fantastic run in the IPL last year but this season, he has managed just 123 runs in nine matches with a strike rate of 150.00.

There were also questions on Virat Kohli‘s strike-rate. Rohit started laughing when the question was asked.

“We haven’t been discussing Kohli’s strike-rate. There is a difference between IPL and international cricket. You need experience. We have got enough balance and power in the team. You look and try take positives from what is happening in IPL. Pressure of a World Cup game is different,” Ajit Agarkar played down Virat Kohli strike-rate criticism.

The Indian skipper also explained the reason behind not having a specialist off-spinner citing that Washington Sundar has not been getting opportunities lately.

“Unfortunately Washy (Washington Sundar) has not been getting opportunities lately. Then it was between Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin) and Axar, we thought having two left-arm spinners who are playing and doing well, and Ashwin has not played the format for a long time.

“Axar was just in real good form from (post) the 50-overs World Cup onwards when he played the five-match series against Australia, he was the man of the series if I am not wrong. We also considered that it gives us that left-handed option if we have to send in the middle order to do something different,” he concluded.

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