India's T20 World Cup squad announced, Dhoni named team mentor

AFP/PTI/New Delhi
Filed on September 8, 2021
Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. (AFP)

Ravichandran Ashwin has been named in the 15-member squad

India on Wednesday called in national legend MS Dhoni to act as team mentor for the Twenty20 World Cup starting next month.

The 40-year-old, who retired from international cricket last year, is India’s most successful captain having won the World Cup, the inaugural T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah said current captain Virat Kohli supported the move to have Dhoni with the side for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

“I spoke to him when I was in Dubai and he agreed to mentor the team,” Shah said when announcing the World Cup squad.

“I spoke to the captain, the vice-captain and coach Ravi Shastri and we came to this conclusion.”

Senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been named in the 15-member squad that also includes additional spinner Varun Chakravarthy who only made his international T20 debut this year.

The World Cup runs from October 17 to November 14.

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.

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 (23) and Chakaravarthy (30) have been rewarded for their consistent performance in the IPL and also impressed in the few opportunities they got with the Indian team.

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.

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.”

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.

Axar has been picked as a backup to all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

The others who could not find a place in the main squad were Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer.

Iyer has, however, made the standbys 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.

India will open their T20 World Cup campaign on October 24 against arch-rivals Pakistan.

India squad

Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma (vice captain), 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

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