India on Monday, 12 September, announced their squad for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia next month.
A lot has changed for India since the last edition of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup last year in Oman and the UAE, including the leadership. Captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid are all set to lead India in their first ICC event when they travel to Australia in October for the marquee event.
India have been bolstered by the return of two of their star pacers but will miss the services of their ace all-rounder. In this article, we take a look at five key takeaways from their squad announcement.
India don't hit the panic button after Asia Cup exit
Despite the Asia Cup setback where they failed to make it to the final after two successive defeats in the Super Four stage, India have not hit the panic button and have decided to stick with a majority of the players who travelled to the UAE. They have made only three changes from the Asia Cup squad, all of which have been forced.
India have extended the long rope to Arshdeep Singh, who had a nightmare against Pakistan in the first Super Four game. The 23-year-old adds a missing dimension to the pace attack with his left-arm pace and has the ability to nail the yorkers in the death.
Deepak Hooda and Dinesh Karthik too find a place on the flight to Australia. Despite the chopping and changing in the Asia Cup, the two players could be key finishers in the big tournament next month.
India boosted by huge returns
Two of the three changes from the Asia Cup squad include the returning duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, two lynchpins of the pace attack in the shortest format. With their return, the pace attack will return to full strength just in time for the T20 World Cup.
Bumrah didn't travel for the Asia Cup in the UAE due to a back injury while Harshal was out with a side strain. Both the players were seen rehabilitating at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and have attained full fitness.
With Bumrah, Harshal, Arshdeep, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya, Rohit Sharma will have a well-rounded pace attack at his disposal at the World Cup.
Shami relegated to standby
With limited spots available in the pace attack, Mohammad Shami, along with Deepak Chahar, could only make it to the standby list.
After a brilliant showing in the IPL, Shami had the backing of several former players, including Ashish Nehra on the ICC Review show, to make it to the World Cup squad. Nehra watched Shami up close as the coach of Gujarat Titans at this year's IPL, where he finished with 20 wickets in 16 matches with an economy rate of 8.
Shami was a part of the World Cup squad last year where he picked up six wickets in five matches at an economy of 8.84. India, however, have chosen to go with the new options in Harshal and Arshdeep this year.
Jadeja misses out
The third – and forced – change from the Asia Cup squad comes in the form of Ravindra Jadeja who is reportedly out with a knee injury. He was part of India's two wins in the group stage of the tournament but missed the Super Four phase in which the team crashed out.
Axar Patel was named as his like-for-like replacement for the Asia Cup and finds a place in the T20 World Cup squad as well. Axar has proved himself both with the bat and ball in the limited opportunities he has been given. He had a memorable tour of the West Indies where he guided India to a win from the jaws of defeat with a stunning 64* off 35 balls batting at No.7.
India could choose to slot him in directly in the XI but also have the option of playing Deepak Hooda who could be the sixth bowling option with his off-spin.
India choose experience over youth
Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel were nailed on for a spot in India's spin attack for the World Cup. Between Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi, India chose experience over youth, with the latter named on the standby list.
The decision to choose Ashwin based on the fact that he is the only frontline finger-spinner perhaps isn't as straightforward. Bishnoi, as he has shown in the IPL and short international career, relies heavily on the googly and is capable of taking the ball away from the left-hander with his angles.
Ashwin can also offer a bit with the bat in hand, which perhaps could have spun it in his favour during the squad selection.
THIS IS THE BIG TIME!
Feel the buzz in the stands and see the best teams in the world play on the biggest stage of all.