Late in the night of 8th September, BCCI announced Team India’s world cup squad for the upcoming ICC T20 tournament. The season is all set to begin in October, organized by the official cricketing body of the world, ICC. The confirmed squad consists of fifteen players, with three reserve players also likely to accompany the team.
In another surprising declaration, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah revealed that former Indian player M.S. Dhoni will travel along with the team as a mentor for the world cup. Dhoni is one of the most successful captains the team has had. This enigmatic batsman and phenomenal wicket-keeper has led India to several victories, including two world titles – the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa and the 2011 ODI World Cup in India along with the Champions Trophy in 2013.
Talking about BCCI’s iconic decision to add Dhoni as a mentor to the team, the secretary said “(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 Shamra) and everyone agreed.”
Debates were rife about who would cut into a place in the national cricket squad for the prestigious ICC tournament. The team will be captained by Virat Kohli while Rohit Sharma will be seen managing the team alongside him as the vice-captain.
The final official squad is – Virat Kohli(C), Rohit Sharma(VC), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan(wk), Rishabh Pant(wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Mohammed Shami.
The three reserve players are – Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar.
Big names like Shikhar Dhawan have been dropped to give a place to newbies like Ishan Kishan and Varun Chakravarthy, who have shown consistent performance as indispensable players in tournaments like the IPL.
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan are prospective opening batsmen for this balanced squad.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, one of India’s top spinners has not found a spot on the squad, while Ravichandran Ashwin, one of India’s most experienced players has made a comeback. 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.”
Shreyas Iyer narrowly missed a spot on India’s world cup squad and has been selected as a reserve. The same is true of Shardul Thakur, who has been turning heads with his wonderful performance in the ongoing India-England test series.
While the T20 world cup is all set to begin from October 17th in UAE and Oman, India will be facing their arch-nemesis Pakistan in their very opening match which is scheduled to occur on October 24th. Appropriate rules have been put in place to ensure the safety of the players and attendees as in the UAE leg of the IPL.