Nayan Mongia: I am surprised Rinku Singh, Ruturaj Gaikwad are not in the T20 World Cup squad

Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Mongia, who represented India in the 1996 and 1999 ODI World Cups, feels Singh proved himself in limited opportunities.

Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya
W. Bhattacharyy

Last Updated: 2024-05-03

Louis Hobbs

6 minutes read

Rutraj Gaikwad

The five-member selection panel of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, led by erstwhile fast bowler Ajit Agarkar, announced the Indian team for the T20 World Cup 2024 on Tuesday. The exclusion of young left-hander Rinku Singh, perceived as India's new finisher, raised eyebrows.

The 26-year-old had thrown his hat in the international selection ring after an explosive season in the Indian Premier League with Kolkata Knight Riders in 2023. He smashed 474 runs, including five sixes off left-arm pacer Yash Dayal in one of the matches against Gujarat Titans. 

The IPL show led to his T20I debut in August. He scored 350 runs with two fifties against South Africa and Afghanistan, respectively. There were also valuable 30s and 40s. His strike-rate of 176.23 in 15 matches is more than Shivam Dube (145.26), who made the cut.

Former India wicketkeeper-batsman, Nayan Mongia, expected Singh to be part of the squad and not travel as a reserve batsman. "I am a bit surprised Rinku is not there in the 15-member squad. He has done superbly in the limited opportunities he got for India. People should have taken better care of him. He should have had more opportunities in the IPL looking at the World Cup ahead," Mongia, who represented India in the 1996 and 1999 ODI World Cups, told Sportsboom on Thursday.

Mongia feels Kolkata Knight Riders could have used Singh differently, perhaps make him bat up the order. "The management of KKR should have taken care of this. He should have got more chances to play and perform," he added.

Singh has mostly batted at No. 6 or No. 7 and scored a couple of impact knocks: 26* off eight balls against Delhi Capitals, 20* off nine balls over Rajasthan Royals, and a 16-ball 24 in the one-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore. 

Overall, he has been having a quiet IPL with only 123 runs in nine outings.

Image Credits: KKR Knight Club

Image Credits: KKR Knight Club

No Ruturaj Gaikwad in the squad

The selectors could pick only one backup opener after Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal. Shubman Gill was preferred over Ruturaj Gaikwad. He will be travelling as a reserve, along with Singh and fast bowlers, Khaleel Ahmed and Avesh Khan.

Chennai Super Kings captain Gaikwad, who has 500 T20I runs in 19 outings, missed the bus despite a strike-rate of 140.05 and a hundred in the format. 

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Ruturaj not being in the team is a surprise too. I understand there is stiff competition, but he has been playing well in all formats over a period of time. It is unfortunate that a player in form is not getting picked.

Nayan Mongia

The right-hander had smashed 590 runs in the IPL last season, and currently, he is already on 509 runs in 10 matches with a hundred and four fifties. "I am happy for Sanju Samson that he has got a chance," said Mongia, who played 140 ODIs and 44 Tests from 1994 to 2000.

Last year, Gaikwad led India to a gold medal finish at the Asian Games.

Hardik Pandya, a proven performer

The poor form and questionable leadership of Hardik Pandya in the IPL for Mumbai Indians led to speculations about his selection chances in the ICC showpiece. The selectors went by his past records and named him vice-captain.

KL Rahul, who was Sharma's deputy in the 2022 edition, was left out.

Mongia feels all the noise around Pandya in the IPL will not matter as the player has gone through the grind of international cricket for eight years. "He has been proving himself in the T20 format for a long time, for India and in the IPL. This is only one IPL where he has not performed up to his standard. He is a top-class all-rounder. There is no doubt he has to pull up his socks when he plays for India as there is competition. As a vice-captain, it will be a new outlook, plus this is not franchise cricket," he said.

The T20 World Cup starts on June 2, a week after the completion of the IPL. 

India will begin their campaign against Ireland on June 5 at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.

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Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya is a cricket journalist based in India who takes a keen interest in stories that unfold on and off the field. His expertise lies in news writing, features and profiles, interviews, stats, and numbers-driven stories. He has also worked as a podcaster and talk show host on cricket-related shows on YouTube and Spotify.