Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was on Wednesday included in India’s 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup alongside Ishan Kishan, Axar Patel, and Varun Chakravarthy. Meanwhile, in a surprise move, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has brought in the country’s iconic captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a mentor for Team India for ICC T20 WC 2021. The 34-year-old Ashwin last played white-ball cricket for India in 2017 before being sidelined from one-day cricket following the Champions Trophy.
However, he kept performing in the IPL besides leading India’s spin attack in Test cricket. Kishan and Chakravarthy have been rewarded for their consistent performance in the IPL and the few opportunities they got with the Indian team.
Also making the squad was Suryakumar Yadav, the 30-year-old Mumbai batsman who has been making a name for himself for his power-hitting. Talking about the squad, 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.
Dhawan, Chahal dropped from India’s T20 squad for World Cup, the big names to be dropped were opener Shikhar Dhawan and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Rahul Chahar has been preferred over Chahal who was a certainty in India’s limited-overs squads until now. Dhawan has been overlooked with KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Kishan picked as the three openers.
Iconic former captain MS Dhoni was brought in as mentor of India’s 15-member T20 World Cup squad by the BCCI, a move that took everyone by surprise.
“Former India Captain MS Dhoni to mentor the team for the T20 World Cup,” announced BCCI secretary Jay Shah in a press conference to unveil the squad for the event scheduled to start October 17 in the UAE and Oman. “I spoke to him in Dubai. He agreed to be a mentor for WT20 only and I discussed with my colleagues and all are on the same page. I spoke to captain (Virat Kohli) and vice-captain (Rohit Shamra) and everyone agreed,” he added.
The 40-year-old Dhoni retired from international cricket last year having played his last game in the 2019 World Cup semi-final. It is believed that he has brought for his experience in devising white-ball strategy and also knowing how to win crucial ICC tournaments which have not been the case with his successor. Dhoni’s achievement as captain of Team India. One of the most successful captains in the history of Indian cricket, the enigmatic wicketkeeper-batsman led India to two world titles — the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa and the 2011 ODI World Cup in India.
The T20 World Cup starts October 17 in the UAE and Oman. India’s reserve players for ICC T20 World Cup 2021, the others who could not find a place in the main squad were Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer. Iyer has, however, made the standby’s list along with Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar. Thakur has been in tremendous form and has already produced eye-catching performances in the ongoing Test series against England.
Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), 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.
Reserve players: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar.
The seventh edition of the T20 World Cup will begin with the Round 1 Group B encounter between hosts Oman and Papua New Guinea on 17 October, with Scotland and Bangladesh, the other teams in Group B, clashing in the evening match on the same day. Ireland, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and Namibia – making up Group A – will be in action in Abu Dhabi the next day, with Round 1 matches running till 22 October. The top two teams in each group will proceed to the Super 12 stage of the tournament, beginning on 23 October.
The second round of the tournament – the Super 12 stage – will get underway in Abu Dhabi on 23 October, with the Group 1 contest between Australia and South Africa. This will be followed up with an evening clash between England and West Indies in Dubai. Old rivals England and Australia will lock horns in Dubai on 30 October. The group will conclude on 6 November with matches between Australia and West Indies in Abu Dhabi, and England and South Africa in Sharjah.
The first semi-final will be held in Abu Dhabi on 10 November at 6 pm local time. The second semi-final will be hosted by Dubai on 11 November. Both semi-finals have reserve days. The final of the tournament will take place in Dubai on 14 November, Sunday, with Monday acting as the reserve day for the final.