T20 World Cup: India pick Ashwin, Chahal omitted; Dhoni in scheme of things

R Ashwin has been included in India's T20 World Cup squad, which will also have Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the mentor
R Ashwin has been included in India's T20 World Cup squad, which will also have Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the mentor.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni stays relevant for India’s ICC T20 World Cup campaign. No matter if he has hanged bid adieu to international cricket. He will have a role to play with the squad, which will have R Ashwin but no Yujvendra Chahal.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Wednesday announced the 15-member squad, which includes five spinners. Ravi Chandran Ashwin has been roped in the squad, but Chahal was dropped. Shikhar Dhawan, who led  second rung Indian team to the two white ball series wins in Sri Lanka, has also been ignored.

MS Dhoni, who had led India to the 2007 World T20 title triumph, had been roped in as the mentor.

The squad:

Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Jaspirt Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd Shami, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakaravarthy.

Reserves: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur

“Ashwin is playing regularly in the IPL. Wickets might be low and slow in Dubai which is also hosting the IPL. His IPL show was a major reason in him getting selected for the team,” said chief selector Chetan Sharma at the virutal Press conference.

Ashwin hasn’t played a T20 Internationl since July 2017

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The squad includes only three seamers – Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Another option Hardik Pandya fits into the all-rounder’s slot.

BCCI honorary secretary Jay Shah revealed the strategy behind induction of Dhoni.

“As far as Dhoni is concerned, I spoke to him when I was in Dubai,” said Shah. “He was okay with the decision, and he agreed to be a mentor for team India, for the T20 World Cup only.

“I spoke to the captain (Virat Kohli) and vice-captain (Rohit Sharma) as well as Ravi Shastri (the head coach), and that’s why we reached the conclusion.”

India will play arch rivals Pakistan in their tournament opener on on October 24 in Dubai. Afghanistan and New Zealand are the other two teams with India in Group 2, which will also include a qualifier from Round 1.

The top two teams from the each Super12 group will qualify for the semi-finals. The summit showdown is slated for November 14 in Dubai.

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