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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Puzzling last-minute World T20 selection flip-flop: Thakur replaces Axar

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Shardul Thakur replaced Axar Patel in India’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup on Wednesday. The decision — which comes a month after the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) original squad announcement — now sees Patel replace Thakur on the standby list, joining Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar.

The BCCI All-India Senior Selection Committee has also added Kolkata Knight Riders breakout star Venkatesh Iyer and seven others to the list of players who will assist the team in their preparations.

”After a discussion with the team management has added Shardul Thakur to the main squad. All-rounder Axar Patel, who was part of the 15-member squad will now be on the list of standby players,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.

As per the ICC guidelines, any team taking part in T20 World Cup can change their squad by October 15.

There was no further reason given on why medium-pacer Thakur has replaced left-arm spinner Patel, who has performed decently till now for Delhi Capitals in the ongoing IPL. Patel took 15 wickets in 12 games for Delhi, with an economy of 6.65. Thakur, meanwhile, has taken 18 wickets for the finalists Chennai Super Kings with an economy of 8.75.

The UAE leg of this year’s IPL has seen spinners call the shots in most of the games. The India squad currently has Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as pacers. It is highly unlikely that Hardik Pandya will bowl in the T20 World Cup as the all-rounder hasn’t bowled a single over in the IPL for Mumbai Indians during the second leg. As of now, the 28-year-old’s role in the team looks to be that of a batsman.

Iyer to assist

The selection committee also added opener Venkatesh Iyer to the list of players who will “assist Team India in their preparations” for the tournament. Though Iyer can bowl, the 26-year-old has been a revelation for Kolkata Knight Riders with the bat. There is no clarity on the thought process of having Iyer on the list of players who will assist Team India.

Along with Iyer, others joining the team’s bubble in Dubai are pacers Avesh Khan, Umran Mallik, Harshal Patel, Lukman Meriwala, leg spinner Karn Sharma and spinners Shahbaz Ahmed and K Gowtham.

India’s squad for ICC T20 World Cup: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami

Stand-by players: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Axar Patel

The following cricketers will join the team bubble in Dubai and assist Team India in their preparations: Avesh Khan, Umran Malik, Harshal Patel, Lukman Meriwala, Venkatesh Iyer, Karn Sharma, Shahbaz Ahmed and K. Gowtham.

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