BCCI have announced India’s squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in October/November, with the biggest surprise being the inclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin four years after he played his last T20I for India. The other major shock is that MS Dhoni will act as a team mentor for India at the World Cup and work alongside Ravi Shastri and the coaching staff to provide ‘support and direction’ according to BCCI secretary Jay Shah.
View this post on Instagram
The notable absentees in India’s World Cup squad include two mainstays in the white ball setup in recent years – Shikhar Dhawan and Yuzvendra Chahal. Dhawan was the captain of the Indian contingent that toured Sri Lanka in July and was the leading run-scorer in the first half of the 2021 IPL with 380 runs at a strike rate of 134. Chahal, meanwhile, has been omitted from the squad along with wrist-spin partner Kuldeep Yadav due to his poor form in national colours of late with the Indian selectors opting to choose Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy instead as the primary spinning options.
At the top of the order, the usual suspects Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul are joined by the Mumbai Indians pair of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan – with the left-hander also selected as backup wicketkeeping option to Rishabh Pant. Both Kishan and Yadav scored half-centuries on debut for India earlier this year in the series against England and have been a huge part of Mumbai’s success in the IPL in the last few seasons. Kishan scored 516 runs at a strike-rate of 145 while Yadav has impressed with his 360-degree stroke-play and ability to score quickly against both pace and spin.
Amongst the all-rounders, India have selected left-arm spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel alongside Hardik Pandya, who is expected to be fit to bowl four overs a game for India at the World Cup. Despite playing 31 T20I’s since his debut in 2017, Washington Sundar has missed out due to a finger injury, with R Ashwin selected as the off-spinning option in the squad at his expense.
The number two ranked Test bowler returns to the side due to his excellent IPL form in 2020 – where he picked up 13 wickets at an average of 30 and an economy of 7.6 for the Delhi Capitals.
Surprisingly, India have only selected three fast-bowlers in their squad, with Jasprit Bumrah accompanied by Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar – who was India’s vice-captain on the recent tour to Sri Lanka.
Shreyas Iyer has also been selected as one of the three reserves for this squad alongside Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar. Iyer hasn’t played any competitive cricket since injuring his shoulder in March 2020, while Thakur has impressed with his all-round abilities with both bat and ball in the recent Test series against England.
India kickstart their World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 24 at Dubai before facing Kane Williamson’s New Zealand in their 2nd group fixture at the same venue on October 31. The Men in Blue travel to Abu Dhabi for their fixture against Afghanistan on November 3 before finishing their final two games in Dubai against the two of the four teams who will progress from the qualifying rounds.
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami.
[Image Credit: Virat Kohli]