India will have a full-strength fast-bowling attack to take to Australia for the T20 World Cup with the return of Jasprit Bumrah
and Harshal Patel
They've also placed a considerable amount of trust in young Arshdeep Singh
, who only made his India debut in July 2022
, but has been picked ahead of the likes of Deepak Chahar and Mohammed Shami,
who only find a place in the reserves.
India have, over the past few months, been investing heavily in super specialists. Arshdeep fits into this category having displayed exceptional skills as a death bowler in the IPL. In fact, last season, with a minimum of 40 balls bowled between overs 17 and 20, only Bumrah managed a better economy rate than the 23-year-old left-arm quick. And that too by a mere 0.2 points: 7.38 vs 7.58.
A lot of the squad picked themselves, including the top four of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav. India then turned to their allrounders with Deepak Hooda
's ability to provide a few overs of offspin pushing him into the main squad ahead of other contenders like Shreyas Iyer, who only found a place among the stand-bys.
Hooda is another of the bolters in the squad. He too played his first game for India in 2022, following a breakout season with Lucknow Super Giants for whom he made 451 runs
at a strike rate of 136.66. Although his sample size is smaller - nine innings as opposed to 14 in the last IPL - in international cricket, he has pushed that strike rate up to 155.85.
Hooda's presence may also have become necessary with India losing Ravindra Jadeja
to a knee injury. Axar Patel
takes over the role of lead left-arm spinner in the squad but it remains to be seen if that means he gets a place in the India XI. At the Asia Cup, where Jadeja picked up the injury, the team management preferred Hooda's batting ability over Axar's.
, meanwhile, has forced the selectors to make his "dream come true
" by taking his game as a finisher to a whole new level. At IPL 2022, where he first began to make his case for inclusion, he had a death-overs strike rate of 220. Among batters who faced at least 50 balls between overs 17 and 20, only Jos Buttler (236.53) fared better.
Karthik has shown sparks of the same ability in India colours as well, notably against West Indies in July
when he came in to bat in the 15th over, with the score only 127 for 5, and took it up to 190 for 6. The 37-year-old who hadn't played any T20Is between February 2019 and June 2022 will now turn up for his third T20 World Cup, and is among a handful of survivors who played the inaugural edition way back in 2007. Rohit is part of this group as well.
, the top wicket-taker from the last IPL, will lead India's spin attack with support from R Ashwin. Ravi Bishnoi is among the reserves. All teams can make changes to their T20 World Cup squads until the first match they play, which in India's case is on October 23.
Shami returns for home T20Is against Australia and SA
While most of India's players have recent cricket to back them up, one of their reserves seems to have been picked based on reputation (and a solid one at that). Shami has not played anything since the end of the white-ball series against England in mid-July, but has been called up for the home T20Is against both Australia and South Africa that start on September 20
and has been placed on standby for the T20 World Cup.
In IPL 2022, Shami was central to Gujarat Titans winning the title in their first season, claiming 20 wickets in 16 matches
. Among Indian fast bowlers only Umran Malik (22), who played for Sunrisers Hyderabad, had more.
Allrounder Hardik Pandya and seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar are part of the squad for the T20Is against Australia, but have been rested for the following series against South Africa. Arshdeep, meanwhile, has been rested for the Australia T20Is, but has been picked for the South Africa T20I series - India's last before the T20 World Cup. Chahar was picked for both bilateral series.
"Hardik Pandya, Arshdeep Singh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be reporting to the NCA for conditioning-related work during the course of the home series against Australia and South Africa," a BCCI media release said.
India squad for Australia T20Is: Rohit Sharma (capt), KL Rahul (vice-capt), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah
India squad for South Africa T20Is: Rohit Sharma (capt), KL Rahul (vice-capt), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah