Kolkata, Jan 18: As the Indian selectors decided to go with a spin-heavy 15-member squad for the world cup, former India captain Sourav Ganguly expressed shock that pace bowler S Sreesanth was ignored.
Ganguly pointed to the fact that Sreesanth had just come off a memorable Test series in South Africa and was near being on top of his game. "It's really surprising to see Sreesanth out of the side despite his recent form and performance," he said.
Ganguly also drew attention to the fact that Sreesanth has put in quite a few appearances for India in ODIs in recent months and would have been raring to go for the mega-event next month. Dada also thought it was a hazardous decision not to include a back-up wicketkeeper for captain M S Dhoni.
"It was a gamble by the selectors to pick one wicketkeeper in Dhoni. If he picks up an injury during the World Cup and is unable to keep, then who will stand behind the wicket?" Ganguly wondered questioning the selectors' decision.
The selectors picked a four-pronged pace attack in Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel, while for the wicketkeeper's slot they picked only Dhoni, thus ignoring Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Karthik and Wriddhiman Saha.
The exclusion of middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma also raised a few eye-brows, but Ganguly said the decision did not surprise him.
"He (Sharma) is a talented player. But it seems after getting enough chances he failed to gain the selectors' confidence. You have to perform at top level to get noticed. But he got many chances unlike many other talented youngsters but failed to impress."
Asked about the big hitting Yusuf Pathan's selection for the allrounder's spot, Ganguly said: "Yusuf can be a match winner. When he gets going, he can win any match singlehandedly. He is a very useful player in these conditions."
Ganguly, however, hedged his bets when asked to name the likel;y winners of this World Cup.
"It's difficult to pick any particular team. India, Sri Lanka, Australia, South Africa, England - all these teams are doing well and are the favourites. It is their performance over the 40 days that will count," Ganguly said.
India are placed Group-B in the World Cup alongside Bangladesh, England, South Africa, West Indies, Ireland and The Netherlands. India will play the inaugural match of the World Cup against Bangladesh in Mirpur on February 19.