Fast bowler Shardul Thakur has replaced all-rounder Axar Patel in India’s 15-member squad for the Twenty20 World Cup.
Patel, who bowls left-arm spin, will be now among the three stand-by players with Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar.
Despite Patel’s exclusion, India still has four spinners in its squad — Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy.
Thakur, who could also come in handy as a lower order batsman, has picked up 18 wickets in the Indian Premier for this year’s finalist Chennai Super Kings. Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mahmmed Shami are the other fast bowlers.
India is in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage with arch-rival Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan. Two more teams will join the group after the qualifiers end in Oman on Oct 22. India will open its campaign against Pakistan on Oct. 24 at Dubai.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan was surprised by the decision. Patel received two consecutive Player-of-the-match awards in the UAE leg.
“Always felt India was one fast bowler short in the announced World Cup squad. Good for Shardul and probably good for the balance of the team; But Axar must be wondering what he did wrong.. getting selected in the first place as well as two back to back MOM in the IPL,” Pathan tweeted.