Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu would have been in my World Cup set-up: Robin Singh
Ajinkya Rahane (left) and Ambati Rayudu (AFP Photo)

Much has been said about the inclusion/exclusion of certain players who could have made a difference to India‘s World Cup campaign in England that ended with a semi-final defeat to New Zealand.

READ: What defines Ambati Rayudu’s career?

India, one of the title favourites, lost just one match en route to the last-four stage but a top-order collapse in a rain-affected semi-final put an end to their hopes. One of their Achilles Heels was the number four batting spot as they tried several batsmen for it but none could justify it.

Former India international Robin Singh has added his voice to the raging debate saying ignoring experienced campaigners Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayudu wasn’t the right call.

Rayudu was the top contender to bat at no. 4 and in fact, had done so in several matches leading up to the world cup before a loss in form resulted in him being overlooked for the showpiece event. Injuries to a couple of players also didn’t result in a call-up despite Rayudu being among the backups.

On the other hand, Rahane, who didn’t feature in India’s plan for the marquee tournament, was in England playing county cricket during the world cup but wasn’t considered either.

“Rahane and Rayudu would have been in my set-up…definitely,” Robin told mid-day. “They have the experience of playing in such [English] conditions. I don’t think it was a good call [to leave them out]. Rahane would have certainly been in my side. He would have been my No. 4. He can also bat at No. 5 and is a very good opener as well. He has the skills for English conditions. You need people with good technique and temperament. Anyone can play on a good track, but if the pitch is doing a bit, then you need players with good temperament and skills.”

Robin played one Test and 136 ODIs for India between 1989 and 2001. He scored 2336 runs and took 69 wickets in ODIs.

Robin also felt that given the delicate situation against New Zealand in the world cup semis, India captain Virat Kohli could have batted at No. 4, a rung lower than his usual no.3 position.

“Considering you had lost Dhawan to an injury, the emphasis was largely on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. So, any opposition would have liked to go after them because once you get them out early, the team’s morale would be hit pretty badly. It gives the opposition a serious upper hand in the game. I would have certainly batted Kohli at No. 4 considering Rohit got out early and the ball was moving a bit,” he said.

Robin has applied for the role of India head coach. The 55-year-old feels his rich experience coaching with different teams across the globe will come in handy should he get the top job.

“I have the experience of coaching different teams across the globe with different franchises, including the IPL from its inception. So, I have the experience of working with different players and understanding the mentality of the people. These are the things I can bring to the table,” he said.