Cricket News Ambati Rayudu’s omission should be debated more than Rishabh Pant: Gambhir

first_imgGautam Gambhir feels sorry for Ambati Rayudu after his exclusion from World Cup squad. Rishabh Pant has missed out from the World Cup squad. Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar are included in the World Cup squad.  “I think there should be no debate about Rishabh Pant’s exclusion but more about Ambati Rayudu,” Gambhir told PTI during an interview here 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,” said the outspoken Gambhir.Rayudu was called India’s first-choice No.4 by captain Virat Kohli a few months ago but low scores in the home series against Australia last month led to a rethink by the selectors. Gambhir was not picked for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and for a brief period contemplated quitting.”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.”However, Gambhir, who has been Pant’s first first-class captain, felt that this omission can’t be termed a setback at all as he had not grabbed the opportunities presented before him.”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. Gambhir had captained a successful franchise side (Kolkata Knight Riders) for seven years. What does a captain tell a player in the midst of an IPL season when he takes such a hit. Can a player focus on the IPL?”He (Pant) is playing Test cricket. He should be happy about it. And one thing I have tried to maintain is that you have got to stay in the present.”For all that Rishabh knows, there may be someone sitting at home and thinking that he could have been in his position (playing for Delhi Capitals). Playing for Delhi Capitals, you are in a position to take your team to the playoffs.”You have age on your side, so just keep performing. He was never a part of white ball cricket consistently and it was the selectors’ call between him and DK. He shouldn’t think too much about it,” added Gambhir. The 38-year-old didn’t want to dwell too much on the pros and cons of having Karthik in the side now that he has been selected. But he feels Karthik being a consistent second-choice keeper in white ball cricket went in his favour apart from experience.”Dinesh was a backup keeper in white-ball cricket for a long time. Possibly he is being seen as a better keeper compared to Pant as (Chairman of selectors) MSK (Prasad) has said. He has also deemed a better finisher. Probably that’s how they think.”But if you ask me, I had said my second keeper was Sanju Samson as I feel he is one of the best going around. He has the quality to be No 4 for a very long time,” said Gambhir.”It’s up to the selectors…I mean whether to go with Rishabh Pant or experience of DK. Now we have to back whoever is going as it’s not important who has gone but the focus should be on bringing the World Cup home.”The Indian team looks devoid of a Plan B in the current set-up but Gambhir believes that it is the duty of the captain and the coach to ensure that they have one.”It’s up to the captain and coach to decide whether to have a Plan A, B or C or not. I am not in that situation so I don’t know what plans they have in store.” If they feel this is the best 15, then we must try and support them. Right now, it’s not about who’s going and not going, it’s about bringing back the World Cup,” he concluded. highlights New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) named 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 on Monday. The selection committee has gone with four specialist batsmen, two wicket-keepers, three all-rounders, two wrist spinners, and three speedsters. And even when the squad looks balanced, two renowned names missed out – Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant.The former’s omission from India’s World Cup squad after just three failures is “heartbreaking” but there should be no debate on Rishabh Pant’s exclusion as he didn’t grab his chances, feels former India opener Gautam Gambhir. Veteran Dinesh Karthik being favoured over Pant has been roundly criticised with Sunil Gavaskar calling it a surprising move. But the hero of the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup final said Rayudu not making the cut is the most unfortunate bit about the squad announced on Monday. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

D’Angelo Russell fuels Lakers’ offense in 120-116 win over Nuggets

first_img“Shoutout to D’Angelo Russell. Shoutout to D’Angelo Russell,” Young said. “It was all D’Angelo Russell today.”Though the Lakers allowed Denver to score 40 points in the fourth quarter, the Lakers (17-34) snapped a three-game losing streak and avenged a seven-point loss to Denver (21-26) earlier this month.That’s because Russell steered an offense that posted 39 points on 14-of-21 shooting in the final period. Young scored a team-high 23 points, and Lou Williams added 21. But it was Russell’s return from a three-game absence from a pair of mild right knee and leg injuries that energized a fluid offense. Lakers coach Luke Walton called Russell’s play “fantastic.”“I’m proud of myself. I’ve been trying. I didn’t even know I was that close. Guys are making shots. It made it easier for me,” said Russell, who finished 7 for 17 from the field, including 2 for 7 from 3-point range. “I know how easy it is to get assists. But you can’t be a pass-first guy and get assists. You have to attack. We’re realizing that.”The Lakers also believe Russell has realized his effectiveness does not just hinge on making shots. LOS ANGELES >> Just as Nick Young prepared himself to face a horde of cameras, D’Angelo Russell made one simple request.“Give me a shoutout,” Russell said.Young seemed more than happy to hand off the assist. After all, Russell already collected plenty of his own.Russell didn’t have his best shooting night in the Lakers’ 120-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at Staples Center, but he had plenty of zip on his passes. The second-year point guard had 22 points, a career-high 10 assists and seven rebounds, helping the Lakers survive a frantic fourth quarter against a Nuggets team that had won seven of nine. “He needs to start passing the ball a little bit more like that,” Young mused. “Shoutout to D’Angelo Russell. It’s D’Angelo Russell night.”Russell made a pull-up jumper that gave the Lakers a 116-113 lead with 46.8 seconds left. He also converted a pair of free throws to help ice the game at 118-114 with 12.4 seconds left. But his passing mostly helped the Lakers in other sequences.Young went 9 for 15 from the field, including a 3-pointer that Russell set up to give the Lakers a 106-103 lead with 4:06 left. Williams scored 13 of his 21 in the fourth quarter, including a floater that Russell set up for a 112-111 edge with 2:16 left. Zubac, the team’s 19-year-old rookie center, was 8 for 9 from the field with six rebounds and scored eight of his career-high 17 in the fourth quarter.“It’s much easier when you have a guard who can pass from the pick and roll,” Zubac said of Russell. “When you set a good screen, sometimes you expect to get rewarded. D’angelo definitely knows when to reward the big guy for rolling and when to take shots by himself. It’s fun to play pick and roll with him.”Walton also sensed Russell’s teammates having fun because of his presence.“I thought there were multiple guys who really played a part in the style that was fun to watch, fun to coach, fun for the fans,” Walton said, again returning to Russell. “It helps when you hit shots, but the fact he’s playing downhill and attacking and aggressive, I think is what leads us to play like that. When you play that style you get lost in the game and you’re more likely to knock down a couple.”Walton had stressed all season for Russell to show a stronger blend of knowing when to look for his shot and when to set up his teammates. In this case, Russell mostly relied on his passing since it was more effective. Walton saw him making that kind of progress before injuring his right knee and right calf on Jan. 20 against Indiana.“He started playing a lot more aggressively,” Walton said beforehand. “That’s what we need out of him. As long as he’s playing with that type of aggression, the shot will come.”Meanwhile, Russell noticed another development coinciding with his improvement.“I give credit to my teammates,” Russell said. “It’s hard to be the point guard, especially playing with a young team. They made it easy for me tonight and previous nights also.”Not all the time, though.Russell only shot 1 for 7 on Jan. 14 against the Clippers and went 2 for 9 on Jan. 17 against Denver. Still, the Lakers valued Russell’s return for obvious reasons. The Lakers are 14-21 with him in the lineup and 3-13 when he’s been out this season with various left and right knee injuries.Still, Walton did not chalk up Russell’s absence to the Lakers’ recent struggles.After all, the Lakers defeated Indiana when Russell left early in the game. They then followed with their most lopsided loss in franchise history, a 49-point defeat to Dallas for reasons that went beyond Russell’s injury.“Obviously we’re better with D’Angelo. He’s a very talented player. But we don’t sit there and use that as an excuse,” Walton said. “Every team is obviously better when they’re at full strength. But at this league, everyone on every team can play so everybody should be able to fill in.”But with the Lakers at full strength, they depended on a player to successful guide their offense even when his shot remained a work in progress.“He was our leader on the court, and he was making all the right plays,” Zubac said. “He needs to play like that, and I think he can do it every night.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more