Samson, Chahal in; Gill, Rinku among reserves of India’s T20 World Cup squad

NEW DELHI: Sanju Samson and Yuzvendra Chahal on Tuesday made it to India’s provisional squad for the T20 World Cup thanks to strong IPL performances but Shubman Gill and the big-hitting Rinku Singh were relegated to the reserves group as selectors went with the tried and tested for the marquee event in June.
The BCCI announced the Rohit Sharma-led squad after a meeting between secretary Jay Shah and chief selector Ajit Agarkar in Ahmedabad. Rohit and Agarkar are expected to address the media in Mumbai on Thursday.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya was retained as vice-captain despite his poor recent form after taking over Mumbai Indians leadership in the ongoing IPL. Hard-hitting batter Shivam Dube also made the cut following a strong IPL showing for Chennai Super Kings.
“There was a lot of debate over Hardik’s place in the squad while Samson was not debated much. Rinku was just unlucky. It was a toss-up between (Dube and Rinku with Hardik also in the squad,” a BCCI source told PTI.
Samson, who has had a good IPL both as a batter and captain for Rajasthan Royals, was included as the second wicketkeeper-batter behind Rishabh Pant, pipping the likes of K L Rahul and Ishan Kishan.
Leg-spinner Chahal, who last played for India in August 2023, is the second wrist spinner in the team alongside Kuldeep Yadav.
However, Gill, who is enjoying a good run in the IPL as Gujarat Titans captain, found himself among the standbys along with Kolkata Knight Riders’ big-hitter Rinku Singh.
The selectors decided to show faith in Yashasvi Jaiswal, who had a slow start in the IPL but regained his touch with swashbuckling hundred recently for Rajasthan Royals. The redoubtable Virat Kohli completed the Indian top order after pulling off strong batting performances in the IPL.
The T20 World cup begins on June 2 in the USA and the Caribbean. India will open their campaign against Ireland on June 5 in New York.
IPL batting stars rewarded, stick to familiar pace attack
India, who have had disappointing campaigns in the previous two World Cups due to their conservative batting approach, needed to make a few bold calls to stake a claim for an elusive ICC trophy.
Picking Dube ahead of Rinku Singh is a bold call in that aspect considering the latter had done no wrong since making his India debut in August last year.
Before the IPL, Rinku, who has a strike rate of 176.23 in 15 T20Is, was considered a certainty in the India squad but selectors have preferred the six-hitting skills of Dube in the middle-order.
To be fair to the left-hander from Mumbai, he has been in sensational touch in the IPL and also flaunted his power hitting prowess in India’s last T20 series in January.
On the wicket-keeper batters’ front, India were spoilt for choice and eventually the selectors picked Pant and Samson.
Pant being chosen was on expected lines after the match-winner proved his form and fitness in the IPL after coming back from a horrific car accident in December 2022. His comeback to the game has been nothing short of sensational after being on crutches for several months.
It will be interesting to see how the management uses Samson, who has been playing in the top-order for Royals. Should he turn up for India, Samson will need to move down the order.
India’s top-order has come under a lot of criticism for its outdated approach in previous editions.
Considering the core remains the same, it remains to be seen how giants like Virat Kohli and Rohit fare in probably their last appearance in the biennial event.
Jaiswal has added much-needed freshness to the top-order and will be expected to build on his recent performances for India at the T20 showpiece.
India will need wickets in the middle overs if they are to go deep in the tournament and that could come from the wrist spin duo of Kuldeep and Chahal, who have been reunited once again.
Playing for Rajasthan Royals, Chahal has picked up 13 wickets so far in the IPL and recently reached the 200-wicket mark in the competition. Ravi Bishnoi was also in the race but was overlooked.
Ravindra Jadeja will be the spin all-rounder in the playing eleven and his back-up in the squad is Axar Patel.
Questions remain over the pace attack with selectors picking Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh to assist spearhead Jasprit Bumrah.
Both Siraj and Arshdeep have not had the best of IPLs but are proven performers on the international stage.
Avesh Khan, who has shown remarkable accuracy in the death overs this IPL, is among the reserves and so is left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed.
Indian Squad for T20 World Cup:
Rohit Sharma (Captain), Hardik Pandya (Vice Captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Sanju Samson (WK), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Siraj.
Reserves: Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed and Avesh Khan.
PTI

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