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Washington Sundar’s injury paved the way for Ravichandran Ashwin’s comeback into India‘s T20I squad for the T20 World Cup, said Chetan Sharma, the BCCI Chief Selector. The board on Wednesday evening announced their 15-man squad for the mega event, scheduled to start from October 17 in the UAE and Oman.
The selectors whirled a few surprises in their T20 set-up, recalling Ravichandran Ashwin the biggest of them all, while leaving out Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been a crucial part of the white-ball setup, perhaps not of the T20 side.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who plays his trade for the Delhi Capitals in the IPL, hasn’t featured in India’s T20I eleven since July 2017, after which leg-spinner Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav became regulars. The off-spinner has been, however, a regular wicket-taker in the IPL for Punjab and Delhi over this period.
While both wrist-spinners now find themselves away from the team, the Tamil Nadu off-spinner has made his way back.
Chetan Sharma highlighted that India needed an off-spinner to make use of the pitches in the UAE. Washington Sundar, who has been in the T20 contingent for the last couple of years, is tending to his finger injury which he sustained on the Test tour of England; he had pulled out of the second half of the IPL 2021, and will now miss the T20 World Cup as well.
“He (Ravichandran Ashwin) has been performing well in IPL. In World Cup, spinner fingers are must. An off-spinner was needed as Washington Sundar is injured,” Chetan Sharma was quoted as saying.
Rahul Chahar, Ravindra Jadeja, Varun Chakravarthy, and Axar Patel are the other spinners in the squad.
MS Dhoni to mentor the team for the T20 World Cup
Former captain MS Dhoni has been roped in as a mentor for the World event. Dhoni led a young outfit to glory in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 in South Africa. However, India have not won the title since. They bowed out in the semifinal in 2016, losing to West Indies in Mumbai.
BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said: “I spoke to Dhoni in Dubai. He was okay with the decision and agreed to be a mentor for Team India for T20 World Cup only. I spoke to captain, vice-captain and Ravi Shastri also, they all are on same page.”
India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their first encounter, on October 24 in Dubai. New Zealand and Afghanistan are two other strong teams in India’s group apart from two more teams which will come from the qualifying ‘Round 1’.
Squad: Virat Kohli (c), 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, Mohd Shami.
Standby players – Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar.