India news May 8, 2017

Rohit, Ashwin, Shami return for Champions Trophy

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Chopra: There was room for a wristspinner to be picked

Mohammed Shami and Rohit Sharma have made their way to India's Champions Trophy squad after injury-forced breaks from ODI cricket. In the absence of the injured KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan was chosen as Rohit's opening partner, with Ajinkya Rahane expected to fill in in case of loss of form or fitness.

The big debate for the selectors was between a third specialist spinner and an extra batsman, with Shami making it four specialist quicks to go with Hardik Pandya as the seaming allrounder. They eventually went for the extra batsman, which meant left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav missed out narrowly.

Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin were the two specialist spinners even though Ashwin has not provided his match fitness - he missed the IPL because of a sports hernia and other wear and tear from a long home season. Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said Ashwin's case was different to some others, who had to prove match fitness after dropping out of the national team with injuries.

India squad for Champions Trophy © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

"As far as Ashwin is concerned, it was not exactly a serious injury," Prasad said. "In fact, his franchise was magnanimous enough in accepting our request to rest him. Rest is all that was required for Ashwin. In the last international match, he represented India [in the Dharamsala Test]. That shows he was not totally unfit. He was not like the others who underwent surgery and were going through rehabilitation."

Fitness has not been the only concern around Ashwin, though. He conceded 188 runs in 27 overs in the three-ODI series against England, his last limited-overs assignment. In the previous ODI series that he played, in Australia in early 2016, Ashwin was dropped after two matches. Prasad was asked if concerns around Ashwin's form had made them deliberate over the need for an extra spinner.

"It is not that Ashwin is out of form," Prasad said. "It is not because of Ashwin's form that we considered Kuldeep. We considered Kuldeep because of his quality. He narrowly missed out." Prasad said Ashwin had been used sparingly in limited-overs cricket to save him for the Champions Trophy.

With Yuvraj Singh and Kedar Jadhav capable of bowling part-time spin, the selectors were satisfied with just the two spinners. Instead they went for the extra quick to go with Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Shami last played ODI cricket in an attempt to win an ICC Trophy, and now he is back with the same goal ahead of him. The 26-year old was India's best bowler in the 2015 World Cup but since thenm chronic leg injuries have put a halt to his 50-over career. He proved his match fitness through two Vijay Hazare Trophy matches for Bengal and five IPL games for Delhi Daredevils.

"Two years is a long time," Shami said. "After the injury, I have worked on my strength and my fitness. I have lost weight. I hope to continue from where I left off. It is good that I will get seven-eight IPL matches before I make my return to international cricket."

Rohit, too, has proved his match fitness through the IPL, captaining Mumbai Indians in all their matches so far. He had spent five months nursing a thigh injury, which had "scared him" until he had met with doctors and received clarification.

MS Dhoni was the only specialist wicketkeeper in the squad, with the selectors resisting the temptation of going for the youngster Rishabh Pant, who has followed up a superb first-class season with IPL performances that have demanded the attention of the world. Prasad said he still considered Dhoni the best glovesman in the world, but also asked Pant to not feel disheartened because he was 'one for the future'.

Should there be an injury to Dhoni or anyone else, India have named five players as standby, which includes two wicketkeepers, Pant and Dinesh Karthik. Like Pant, Kuldeep made it to the list of standby players as another one 'for the future'. Fast bowler Shardul Thakur, and Suresh Raina were the others asked to report to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore. The BCCI will proceed with their visa applications to the UK in case quick replacements are needed later.

India begin their tournament against Pakistan on June 4 at Edgbaston, then play Sri Lanka on June 8 and South Africa on June 11.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan23880583 on May 29, 2017, 4:35 GMT

    Raina and Jadeja are best on the field, you selected Jadhav over Raina. Shamful act Mr. Prasad. Raina has proved again and again and in last IPL. Even he was the best batsman and fielder in the whole IPL.

  • Cricinfouser on May 22, 2017, 5:58 GMT

    Suresh raina should have been in nuclides in squad for world champion cup

  • Mohammad Zamin on May 15, 2017, 14:40 GMT

    Hi Guys I just wanted to let you know that Pakistan has won its first series in West Indies and that we have (as per usual) unearthed 2 new fast bowlers. I hope that is alright

  • cricfan2072513536 on May 11, 2017, 22:05 GMT

    Perfect and settled squad..inclusion of yuvraj singh was obvious under kohli

  • Sunil_Canada on May 11, 2017, 19:34 GMT

    cricfan_1978 on May 10, 2017, 21:41 GMT You never know India's second team could fare better than the first team, And if the second team does well, viewership will be even higher.

  • Rachit9 on May 11, 2017, 19:02 GMT

    Thanks for the selectors to give us this squad, we will definitely not go past the Semi Final stage this Champions Trophy. This is definitely going to see the last of Dhoni and Yuvraj. In view of the upcoming World Cup in 2019 we need fresh young legs in the shorter formats

  • ADITO_SOZE on May 11, 2017, 10:46 GMT

    Every cricket fan will have their own favorite players, whom they want in the playing eleven irrespective of their current form. Fans should understand that the selectors have a better understanding of the current scenario and experience always helps in big tournaments.

    Youngsters (Pant, Samson, Basil, Tripathi) and players who have faded from the international scene but doing well in IPL (such as Gambhir, Uthappa) should be tried in the coming international T20 matches based on their IPL form, not in 50 overs as so many fans have declared here.

  • cricfan_1978 on May 10, 2017, 21:41 GMT

    India should be sending second stream team to make ICC and S Manohar relizes that they are really creating mess out there. Not sure ICC so called director want him to retained back since they need someone to mess with BCCI Or they want him to clean/complete his mess before he leave. fair share we need.

  • CricketItihas on May 10, 2017, 14:16 GMT

    Playing XI - 1. Rohit 2. Dhawan 3. Kohli 4. Jadhav 5. Dhoni 6. Pandya 7. Jadeja 8. Ashwin 9. Bhuvi 10. Shami 11. Bhumrah

  • cricfan4719356844 on May 10, 2017, 13:48 GMT

    The team should be this-gautam.rohit.kohli.uthappa.raina.dhoni.pandya.jadeja.ashwin.umesh.bhuvneshwar.to win champions trophy

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