The chief selector Chetan Sharma has answered a variety of questions on the team selection for the T20I world cup.
He firstly made it clear that there are 3 openers in this squad — Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul & Ishan Kishan. He also made it clear that the whole Indian batting will revolve around Virat Kohli who is preferred by the selectors in the middle order. This is contrary to the plans that Virat revealed at the end of the home T20I series against England 6 months ago when he said after scoring 80 odd as opener in the last game that he is likely to open with Rohit in the World cup to get more deliveries to play.
However, Chetan also added that if there are certain situations in which the captain feels that he needs to open, he will go ahead.
As for Ashwin’s inclusion, Chetan said that ” Ravi Ashwin has been playing in the IPL regularly. He has performed well there. When you go into the World Cup, you need an Off Spinner, everyone has an idea that the Wickets in the UAE will get slower as IPL will also be played there.”
On the inclusion of Rahul Chahar and exclusion of Yazuvendra Chahal who was slightly unexpectedly dropped, Chetan clarified, the Yuzi bowls much slower but the selectors wanted a leggie with more pace on the ball and hence opted for Rahul Chahar, who bowls much faster and has shown great form in the recent Srilanka series.
“We have picked Rahul Chahar over Yuzi Chahal as we wanted someone who Bowls fast and gets pace off the pitch. He also gets the ball to grip through the surface.” Chetan Sharma said
On the non-inclusion of Natarajan and Shreyas Iyer , Chetan explained that both are coming off injuries and so has not yet played enough matches after the injury layoff to demand selection. Further on Natarajan, he said that since UAE pitches are expected to turn more, they went with a minimum number of pacers and Hardik Pandya as 4th pacer.
On Hardik , Chetan has indicated that he will be bowling his full quota of overs and is completely fit now. He further added that he was used sparingly to get him gradually ready and fresh for the world cup.
As regards the biggest surprise of inducting Dhoni as the mentor of the team, BCCI secretary Jay Shah who was in the press meet along with Sharma, said :
“I spoke to him Ms Dhoni In Dubai. He agreed to be a mentor for T20 World Cup only then I discussed with my colleagues and all are on same page. I spoke to Captain Virat Kohli and Vice-Captain Rohit Sharma and everyone agreed.”
India will begin their T20I World cup campaign with their first game against Pakistan on 24 October .