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India's T20 World Cup squad: Why Arshdeep over Chahar? And why did Ashwin get the nod?

Even before the squad was announced, several players were locked in, with only a few slots still up for grabs. Here's the logic behind the picks for those spots

Nagraj Gollapudi
15-Sep-2022
Arshdeep Singh has garnered praise from Rohit Sharma in recent times  •  Associated Press

Arshdeep Singh has garnered praise from Rohit Sharma in recent times  •  Associated Press

Earlier this week, India announced their squad of 15 and five reserves for the Men's T20 World Cup that will be held in Australia in October-November. Twelve of the 15 players were more or less inked in subject to fitness even before the Asia Cup. There was no press conference to offer clarity on the selectors' thinking behind how the last few spots were filled. ESPNcricinfo spoke to our sources in the board to find out the logic behind these picks and the one surprise among the reserve players.
Arshdeep Singh
When fully fit, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel were always going to be the three frontline quicks with Hardik Pandya for support. India had to pick one or two back-up fast bowlers in the squad. They went for one: Arshdeep Singh, who pipped Deepak Chahar and Avesh Khan.
It is learnt that there was hardly any debate over whether Arshdeep should be the one on the flight to Australia. The selectors and the team management agreed that he showed composure and calmness in two tight final overs - against Pakistan and Sri Lanka - during the Asia Cup. Praising Arshdeep recently, India captain Rohit Sharma said the young left-arm fast bowler deserved to be part of the India team because he had the temperament to execute under pressure. He also brings the left-arm angle, which is not available otherwise.
Arshdeep only made his international debut earlier this year during India's UK tour, but the selectors also considered his IPL form; he had consistently bowled tough overs for Punjab Kings.
Chahar can consider himself unlucky because of injuries, but he also is quite similar to Bhuvneshwar, which leaves room only for one of them in the main squad. Chahar, though, finds a place in the reserves.
Deepak Hooda
A maiden T20 century against Ireland on the UK trip helped Deepak Hooda become a serious contender for the T20 World Cup. With his flexibility to bat in any position, his versatility as a stroke-maker, his athleticism as a boundary-rider and his ability to bowl part-time offbreaks, Hooda is an asset in any T20 side. The selectors, too, felt he could add to India's batting and bowling depth in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja, allowing the team management to work with different combinations.
R Ashwin
Wristspinners have been the dominant entity in T20 cricket in Australia in the past few years, but the selectors opted for senior pro R Ashwin over young legspinner Ravi Bishnoi, who had an impressive outing in the Asia Cup. The selectors felt that Ashwin and his fingerspin could be used both as an attacking and defensive option in the powerplay, middle overs or even at death. It was also felt that on pitches that offer good bounce and on bigger grounds, Ashwin could pose more difficult questions to the batters compared to a second wristspinner (behind Yuzvendra Chahal), especially someone in the infancy of their international career.
Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami has not made it to the main squad, but he is still a surprise selection for the reserves: he has not played for India in T20Is since the 2021 T20 World Cup last November. Shami is also part of the India squads for the home T20I series against Australia and South Africa before the World Cup. His recall caught many by surprise, but Shami is part of a group of players the selectors believe can turn up and play in any format thanks to vast experience as well as top control over their skillset. In Shami and Chahar, India have good cover in case there is an injury to any of the four quicks in the main squad.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo