Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel returned to India’s 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia next month.
Bumrah had to miss out on the Asia Cup due to an injury and after undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, he cleared the fitness test, along with Harshal.
Their fitness will be monitored throughout the home series against Australia and South Africa. The cricketing fraternity believes that the comeback of Bumrah and Harshal will bolster India’s pace bowling department, which struggled in the Asia Cup, ahead of the ICC event. Along with the seasoned campaigners Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bumrah and Harshal, young Arshdeep will be the fourth fast bowler.
The national selection committee decided to keep Mohammed Shami, Deepak Chahar as stand-by options, along with Ravi Bishnoi and Shreyas Iyer.
Even though Shami played in the Indian Premier League this year, the pace ace has been out of India’s T20I squad for a while with the selectors and the team management deciding to give more opportunities to young guns Avesh Khan and Arshdeep.
On the expected lines, Harshal’s return to the squad also meant that the selectors left out Avesh, who had a forgettable outing in the Asia Cup before being ruled out of the tournament.
On the spin-bowling front, the selectors decided to go ahead with Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel. In the just-concluded Asia Cup, the team had opted for four spinners, but the young Bishnoi could get a lone game against Pakistan and bagged a wicket. But keeping the Australian conditions in mind, the selection committee decided to opt for the seasoned Chahal and Ashwin, while choosing Axar as a like-for-like replacement for the injured Ravindra Jadeja.
Pant, DK make the cut
As reported by Sportstar, the national selectors have decided to pursue both Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik for the ICC event. For the last few months, the team management saw Karthik as a specialist finisher and for the big-ticket tournament, the team management did not want to tweak it’s combination too much. While Pant’s daredevilry with the bat will come in handy in the Australian conditions, the team management and the selectors believe that Karthik’s temperament and experience at the end will help the team in the crisis situation.
Tried and tested
In the batting department, the selectors decided to continue with the tried and tested formula with KL Rahul continuing as the vice-captain. The top-order will revolve around captain Rohit Sharma, Rahul, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav. There were apprehensions on whether the selectors will give Deepak Hooda a longer rope, but keeping in mind the fact that he can be an effective spin bowling option in the middle, Hooda was chosen as the all-rounder along with the well-oiled Hardik Pandya.
Ever since featuring in the IPL this year, Hardik has reinvented himself as a match-winner and the team management is of the opinion that with Bumrah and Harshal taking charge, Hardik will be a good fast bowling option in crisis situations.
The Indian team hasn’t won a ICC title since 2013 and shrugging off the Asia Cup disappointments, the team management wants to ensure that players are fit before flying out to Australia. According to the BCCI secretary Jay Shah, Hardik, Arshdeep and Bhuvneshwar will be reporting to the NCA for conditioning-related work during the course of the home series against Australia and South Africa to manage their workloads.
India squad for ICC T20 World Cup
Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh.
Standby players: Mohammed Shami, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Chahar.
India Squad for Australia T20Is: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd. Shami, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah.
India squad for South Africa T20Is: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Mohd. Shami, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah.