There were many surprises come when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the Indian team for the T20 World Cup, which kicks off on October 17 in Oman and the UAE. The biggest of them all was the addition of MS Dhoni to Ravi Shastri-led support staff as mentor of the team.
MS Dhoni, who led India to victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, will take on the role of support staff role for the first time at the international level.
India T20 World Cup Squad
India's 15-man squad: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), 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.
Standby players: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar.
No place for Chahal and Dhawan
Yuzvendra Chahal, who was India's No. 1 spinner in the limited-overs format from last couple of years, was left out along with his wrist-spin partner Kuldeep Yadav. India also ruled out opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who led the team India in Sri Lanka in July in the absence of Test regulars.
Washington Sundar, who will miss out on the remainder of IPL 2021, was not picked even as he is recovering from an injury setback.
R Ashwin is back after a 4-year hiatus
India did not pick Chahal but went with two left-arm spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. The most important story to announce by the Indian team for the T20 World Cup was R Ashwin. The off-spinner returned to the limited-overs set-up for the first time since 2017.
The former selection committee, headed by MSK Prasad and team management had looked towards grooming two wrist spinner Chahal and Kuldeep after a after a dismisal shown from Indias finger-spinners Ashwin and Jadeja at the Champions Trophy in 2017 when India lost to Pakistan in the final.
R Ashwin last played for India in T20I format in July 2017, where he appeared against the West Indies in the West Indies. Ashwin has 52 wickets in 46 matches with an impressive economy rate of less than 7.
Ashwin has been a consistent performer for Delhi Capitals in the IPL. The off-spinner has been grooming his ability to bowl inside the powerplay as well in the crunch middle overs.
Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar named in stand-by group
Shreyas Iyer, who recently recovered from a shoulder injury after surgery, has not found a place in the top 15 but he is part of the 3 stand-by group.
Deepak Chahar, who has been a constant member of the limited-overs squad, is also part of the stand-by group.
Meanwhile, Shardul Thakur, who played a crucial all-round role in India's victory over England in the Oval Test, is also part of the stand-by group.
Krunal Pandya misses out
Krunal Pandya, who was a regular player for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, had traveled to Sri Lanka in July for the Limited Series, but India have gone with Axar Patel as the team's second left-arm spinner in the squad. Axar last played T20I for India in March against England in Ahmedabad after making his record debut in the Test earlier this year.