Speculation was rife about the composition of Virat Kohli’s squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, ahead BCCI’s official announcement on Wednesday.
And the official statement didn’t disappoint, especially in terms of shock value.
This is some squad!
The combined T20 tally (including reserves):
Mts – 2994 (Most: 350-Rohit, Least: 24-Varun)
Runs – 47000 (Most: 9929- Virat)
100s – 21 (Most: 6- Rohit)
Wkts – 1601 (Most: 249- Ashwin)
— Rajneesh Gupta (@rgcricket) September 8, 2021
Some big names faced the axe for flights to the United Arab Emirates and Oman, while one former World Cup-winning skipper is back into the scheme of things. Here is the lowdown:
Former India captain MS Dhoni will accompany the team as a mentor for the competition. He had led Team India to lift the inaugural T20 WC trophy in South Africa, in 2007.
Former India Captain MS Dhoni (in file photo) to mentor the team for the T20 World Cup: BCCI Honorary Secretary Jay Shah pic.twitter.com/l7PChmS7yA
— ANI (@ANI) September 8, 2021
“(I) spoke to him in Dubai. He agreed to be mentor for WT20 only and I discussed with my colleagues and all are on same page. I spoke to captain (Virat Kohli) and vice captain (Rohit Sharma) and everyone agreed,” announced BCCI secretary Jay Shah in a press conference.
…so does Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin has finally been called up for India’s white-ball squads after a gap of nearly four years. He is currently part of the touring party for the five-match Test series in England.
2017: I wrote this quote down a million times in my diary before putting this up on the wall! Quotes that we read and admire have more power when we internalise them and apply in life.
— Mask up and take your vaccine🙏🙏🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) September 8, 2021
Chief selector Chetan Sharma said: “Ashwin is an asset. He performed well in the IPL and we needed a player of his experience. We need an off-spinner with Washington (Sundar) injured.”
“Ashwin is the only off-spinner in the squad. Varun is a mystery spinner who is a surprise package for the world,” he added.
Both Yuzhvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who have played the most amount of white-ball cricket for India since the last T20 WC, have been omitted from the 15-man squad.
Varun Chakravarthy’s journey – from making his debut in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, aged 25, to being in India’s World Cup squad 4 years later – is remarkable.
It shows how the IPL, and the state T20 leagues beneath it, are democratising Indian cricket.
— Tim Wigmore (@timwig) September 8, 2021
Rahul Chahar replaces Chahal as the first-choice leg-spinner while Varun Chakravarthy is the ‘mystery spinner’ in the squad. Chahal’s absence has particularly come in as a big surprise for some fans.
End Of The Dhawan Era?
India’s frontline ICC tournament opener, Shikhar Dhawan has been excluded from the squad. The southpaw was the captain of the Indian ‘B’ contingent that recently toured Sri Lanka as Kohli’s men had parallely departed for England.
Biggest Surprise – No D Chahar & Chahal.
Missing: Dhawan did everything he could to stake a claim for the role. Consistency and excellent SR. Tough omission
Varun’s story is unbelievable. Part of a WC squad under MS, Kohli and Ashwin would be a dream come true. #T20WorldCup
— Gaurav Sundararaman (@gaurav_sundar) September 8, 2021
Dhawan was a key member of the team that won Team India’s last ICC trophy, in the form of the 2013 Champions Trophy, in England. His injury in the 2019 WC was also considered a factor in the team’s semi-final exit that year.
All of Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar sound like names who could be in the 15-man squad. Unfortunately for them though, they are reserves for the forthcoming tournament.
For me the only real disappointment is no Shaw. Should have been there.
— Mr. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (@basedIITian) September 8, 2021
In the event of an unforeseen injury or a COVID-related crisis in the main roster, a few or even all of these three might get a chance to be among the main contenders.
Image credits: Twitter/BCCI