Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel have recovered from the respective injuries and been included in India’s star-studded T20 World Cup squad, which has been announced by the BCCI on Monday. Initially expected be declared towards the end of this week, the selectors met in the afternoon of September 12 and finalised the squad of 15 that will represent the Rohit Sharma-led Indian team in the ICC mega event starting October 16 in Australia. Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar are the four stand-by players.
Bumrah and Harshal, both of whom had missed the Asia Cup due to a back and a side strain respectively, are back to bolster the under-fire pace attack. The two had been undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, and the selectors, after a thorough evaluation decided that both pacers are fit enough to feature for India in their bid to lift the T20 World Cup for a second time. Bumrah and Harshal will also feature in India’s six T20I series against Australia and South Africa at home starting September 20 – a pre-curser for the team to get its combinations right – to gain some much-needed match practice before taking the flight to Australia.
Bumrah and Harshal coming back into the fray means that Avesh Khan, who caught a sickness during the Asia Cup is not in the reckoning. Partnering the two quicks in the pace department will be Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh, both of whom were in the thick of things for India at the Asia Cup. Also returning to the fold is Shami, a surprise call-up given he has not played a T20 for India since last year’s World Cup. Shami’s exclusion from India’s Asia Cup squad was widely criticised by commentators and experts alike, but it seems that the selectors haven’t quite given up on him.
The room for experimentation is over with India revealing a bumper squad. The top order picks for itself with captain Rohit likely to open with KL Rahul, followed by Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya as the middle-order candidates, with Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik being the two wicketkeepers. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who recently underwent knee injury, as expected missed the cut, but the team would be hoping for Axar Patel to fill that void. Continuing with all-rounders, the team management has persisted with Deepak Hooda despite his recent string failures.
After missing last year’s T20 World Cup, Yuzvendra Chahal will be leading India’s spin attack along with the experienced R Ashwin. Chahal has a fine record in Australia, and given the kind of form he has been since his return to the limited-overs squad, Chahal’s inclusion was a no-brainer. Meanwhile, Ashwin got the nod over young Bishnoi and even though he has featured for India in just 10 T20Is since the beginning of 2021, it is believed that the management trusts him enough. Having said that, just who between Ashwin and Axar partners Chahal will make for an interesting ross-up.
India’s squad for T20 World Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (Wicketkeeper), Dinesh Karthik (Wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh