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.

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:

Dhoni Returns

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.

 

“(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.

 

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.

No ‘Kulcha’

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.

 

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.

 

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.

The Standbys

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.

 

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