India named five spinners, including Ravichandran Ashwin, in its 15-member squad for the next month’s Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
With the wickets in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi expected to suit spinners, all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, as well as Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy joined Ashwin in the team announced Wednesday.
Ashwin last played in the T20 set up in 2017 against the West Indies at Kingston. He has picked up 52 wickets in 46 T20 internationals.
Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was named team mentor and will work closely with support staff and head coach Ravi Shastri.
Fit-again middle-order batsman Suryakumar Yadav and wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan also found their places in the squad after making their debuts in the home series against England. Suryakumar hasn’t played competitive cricket since March but has recovered from shoulder surgery.
Both are key players in the Mumbai Indians team in the IPL and have impressed the selectors in the recent series against Sri Lanka.
While all-rounder Hardik Pandya was included, his brother Krunal was left out. The three pacemen are Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Bumrah and Shami are also part of India’s test team in England while white-ball specialist Bhuvneshwar played in all six white-balls matches in Sri Lanka.
India T20 regular Washington Sundar was unlucky to miss out on the T20 World Cup due to a finger injury which has also ruled him out of the UAE leg of the IPL later this month.
Left-handed opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who led India in Sri Lanka recently in the limited-overs series, could not find a place in the final 15. Captain Virat Kohli’s teammate at the IPL’s Royal Challengers Bangalore — wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal — was also left out.
Chief selector Chetan Sharma said Dhawan will remain “an important player and will be back soon.”
The selectors also named three standby players: batsman Shreyas Iyer and fast bowlers Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar.
Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, 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