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Unlucky to miss out

Cricket World Cup 2019: Unlucky XI

CWC19 feature

While there were many surprise additions in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 squads, a number of proven performers missed out. Here's a look at an XI that failed to make the cut.

Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan)

Rizwan's exclusion came as a surprise since he has worked behind the stumps in Sarfaraz's absence before, and his omission leaves Pakistan without the option of a back-up wicketkeeper. The 26-year-old has played 32 one-day internationals and scored over 700 runs at an average of 33.57. Since his comeback in early 2017, after a two-year absence, Rizwan has hit two centuries; both tons came in Pakistan's 5-0 series defeat against Australia earlier this year, and his fluency in the middle was one of the rare bright spots in an otherwise dismal series for the hosts.

Niroshan Dickwella (Sri Lanka)

After Sri Lanka's disappointing returns in the ODI series against South Africa, a big overhaul was needed. But plenty of experienced players will be feeling unlucky to miss out, especially Dickwella. In the last 12 months, the wicket-keeper batsman has notched up 497 runs in 15 innings.

Rishabh Pant (India)

Pant was omitted from the squad to make way for the more experienced Dinesh Karthik. The selectors also felt that at 21, Pant will get many more chances in the future to prove himself. Yet the youngster's exclusion raised quite a few eyebrows. Although Pant has played only five ODIs so far, his aggressive stroke-making and the ability to take on any attack make him a potent batsman.

Ambati Rayudu (India)

Seven months ago, during the West Indies ODI series, India captain Virat Kohli backed Ambati Rayudu for the number four spot. However, Vijay Shankar's debut earlier this year brought about a 'three-dimensional' change in India's plans. Rayudu, who made a comeback to the ODI side in September 2018 after a gap of two years, has done exceptionally well since. Since his return, he has made four fifties, one century, and two forty-plus scores. And even though India have included Vijay, their number four issues are still far from being solved.

Dinesh Chandimal (Sri Lanka)

Chandimal, who debuted in 2010, has been one of the most successful batsmen for Sri Lanka in recent times. In 2018, Chandimal averaged 42.57, and even captain the team briefly. With 146 ODIs of experience behind him, Sri Lanka will be without the services of an experienced campaigner.

Jofra Archer (England)

Yet to play for England, Archer's name has been doing rounds for quite some time. A prolific bowler in T20 leagues around the world, his accurate yorkers make him a lethal threat. While the 24-year-old has not made the cut, he can still impress the selectors in the limited-overs series that England will play against Ireland and Pakistan in early May. 

Asif Ali (Pakistan)

Belligerent Asif Ali's exclusion was unexpected, particularly, because Pakistan have rued the lack of power-hitters in the side. Having played only 11 games so far, his ODI numbers are modest but the 27-year-old is an excellent hitter at the death and could have filled a gap in the side which has been unaddressed for a long time. He is, however, in the squad to face England early next month, so the door may not be shut on his participation just yet. 

Kieron Pollard (West Indies)

Although Pollard last played an ODI in 2016, his recent exploits in the Indian Premier League have brought him back in focus. The big right-hander has scored close to 200 runs in 10 IPL matches, playing a couple of match-winning knocks. He is a handy bowler and a terrific fielder and recently admitted that he was hopeful of a World Cup return. However, the selectors have instead gone with Andre Russell, who can perform a similar role in the side.

Peter Handscomb (Australia)

With the return of Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb is the unfortunate man to miss out. The right-hander has been nothing but spectacular of late. In the 13 games he has played so far in 2019, he averages 43.54 with 479 runs, a total that includes three fifties and a hundred. With his exclusion, Australia are also without a back-up wicketkeeping option.

Akila Dananjaya (Sri Lanka)

Out of all the names that Sri Lanka left out, Akila Dananjaya's was the most surprising. Danajaya picked up 28 wickets last year at 23.00 in 15 innings and was their highest wicket-taker. Since returning to international cricket with a remodelled action, the mystery spinner has proved to be less effective, prompted the selectors to leave him out of Sri Lanka's 15-man list.

Mohammad Amir (Pakistan)

Amir may have been a leading force in Pakistan's successful 2017 ICC Champions Trophy campaign in England, but since then his numbers have only suffered. Earlier this month, skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed expressed concerns over Amir's form. The 27-year-old has gone wicketless in nine out of his last 14 ODIs and fitness issues in recent times have not helped his case either. Like his teammate Asif, he is in the 17-man squad for next months ODIs against England, so a chance to shine on the world stage might not be completely out of the question. 

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