Pant left out of India World Cup squad, Karthik and Shankar picked

Rishabh Pant India Delhi Capitals PA

India have left explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant out of their World Cup squad, with Dinesh Karthik preferred as MS Dhoni’s understudy.

There is also place in the squad for all-rounder Vijay Shankar, with Ambati Rayudu – tipped by many to fill India’s troublesome number-four spot in England – left out altogether.

Virat Kohli will lead a squad that will rival England for pre-tournament favouritism despite recent setbacks, with a power-packed top three and high-class, well-balanced bowling attack making India look a real force.

Pant’s absence seems a shame given his thrilling play and outrageous potential, but Karthik has done well recently and is an understandable if conservative choice.

“We’ve seen Karthik finishing matches under pressure,” said chief selector MSK Prasad.

“Pant is full of talent. He has time on his hands.”

Pant played the last two games of the recent series against Australia, games India lost as the Aussies hit back from 2-0 down to claim a famous series victory.

On Shankar’s inclusion, Prasad said: “What Vijay Shankar offers is three dimensiona. Apart from his batting, he can bowl and he’s a fantastic fielder. We are looking at him as number four.”

The World Cup in England and Wales will run from 30 May to 14 July, with India’s campaign beginning against South Africa on 5 June at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

India World Cup squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav.