The Chetan Sharma-led selection committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday announced the Indian squad for the next month's ICC T20 World Cup. The selectors also revealed that Mahendra Singh Dhoni would be India's mentor, to assist head coach Ravi Shastri. (More Cricket News)
Here's the team:
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, Mohammed Shami.
Standby players: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar.
Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made a return to the white-ball side after four years. The 34-year-old Ashwin last played white-ball cricket for India in 2017. But openers Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw, along with Yuzvendra Chahal, have been dropped.
Other surprise picks are Ishan Kishan and Varun Chakravarthy, who have been have been rewarded for their consistent performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the few opportunities they got with the Indian team.
Shreyas Iyer and Shardul Thakur were among the three standbys named for the tournament.
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.
"Ashwin is the only off-spinner in the squad. Varun is a mystery spinner who is a surprise package for the world," he added.
Sharma also stated that all-rounder Hardik Pandya is "absolutely fit and will bowl his quota of overs."
"We have picked Rahul Chahar over Yuzi as we wanted someone who bowls fast and gets pace off the pitch," Sharma explained.
The selection committee connected with skipper Virat Kohli in Manchester and coach Ravi Shastri in London before finalising the squad.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah, who is also the convenor of the selection committee, were present during the meet.
ICC allows a squad strength of 30, instead of 23 in earlier editions, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The number is inclusive of the support staff. But the extra cost is supposed to be borne by the country's cricket board.
New Zealand were the first team to announce their squad for the tournament. Australia, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea have also announced their respective squads.
The T20 World Cup will start soon after the completion of the IPL, which is slated to host its final on October 15.
The ICC on June 29 confirmed that the tournament will be staged in the UAE and Oman due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in India.
But the BCCI will remain the hosts of the event, which will now be held in Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground, from October 17 to November 14.