India's T20 World Cup squad: Pant, Dube and Samson make the cut

Legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal made a comeback in the 15-man squad led by Rohit Sharma

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube and Sanju Samson have all been selected in India's 15-man squad for the 2024 T20 World Cup starting on June 1 in the USA and the West Indies. The squad, announced on Tuesday afternoon, will be led by Rohit Sharma and has Hardik Pandya as the vice-captain.
Yuzvendra Chahal, who was not part of India's recent T20I squads for the series in South Africa and at home against Afghanistan in January, has been picked on the back of his IPL form and is one of four spin options, along with left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav, and left-arm spin-bowling allrounders Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel.
The pace attack comprises only three specialists - Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh - along with Hardik and Dube as seam-bowling options.
Yashasvi Jaiswal was preferred as Rohit's opening partner, while Shubman Gill was named as a reserve player along with lower-order batter Rinku Singh and fast bowlers Khaleel Ahmed and Avesh Khan.
Pant hasn't played a T20I since his car accident in December 2022, and has worked his way back into the squad through his performances in IPL 2024. His 398 runs in 11 innings have come at a strike rate of 158.56. Over the course of the season, he has also allayed any doubts there may have been over his wicketkeeping.
This is Samson's first selection in a World Cup squad, after he missed out to Dinesh Karthik in 2022. Like Pant, Samson has been in prolific form as captain of Rajasthan Royals, who are on top of the IPL 2024 league table with eight wins in nine games. He has scored 385 runs in nine innings at a strike rate of 161.08 so far. The inclusion of Pant and Samson left no room for KL Rahul or Jitesh Sharma. While Rahul has not played a T20I since the previous World Cup, Jitesh had been part of India's recent T20I squads, but he's been in poor form this IPL.
Eight of the 15 players selected, including captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, featured in India's 2022 T20 World Cup campaign. After their semi-final defeat to England then, the BCCI made sweeping changes in a bid to experiment with younger players. However, Rohit and Kohli returned to the T20I squad after more than a year's absence ahead of the Afghanistan series at home in January.
That series also marked an international return for Dube, who top-scored with 124 runs in three innings. His ability to take down spin in the middle overs for Chennai Super Kings over the past two IPL seasons, and his improvement against fast bowling in 2024, made him a compelling selection. Dube's inclusion meant Rinku, India's designated T20I finisher over the last eight months, couldn't make the 15.
Prior to Rohit's return to the T20I team in January, India had mostly been captained by Hardik since the 2022 T20 World Cup, while Suryakumar Yadav stood in after Hardik injured his ankle during the ODI World Cup last October-November. Suryakumar led India in the five-match T20I series at home against Australia in November and in the three games in South Africa in December. The upcoming World Cup will be his first T20I since then, following his comeback in the IPL from an ankle injury and sports hernia.
Chahal also played his most recent T20I eight months ago and could finally get to play his first T20 World Cup match after playing 80 T20Is over the years. Rahul Chahar was preferred over him in 2021, and in 2022, R Ashwin and Axar Patel featured in India's XI regularly even as Chahal sat out. He has so far picked up 13 wickets in nine games in IPL 2024, with an economy of 9.00 despite bowling in the death overs.
The squad will leave India for the USA in batches, with the first one leaving on May 21. This travelling group will have head coach Rahul Dravid and other members of the coaching staff, and squad members from the IPL 2024 teams that are out of the playoffs. The last day of league-stage matches in IPL 2024 is May 19, and the playoffs begin on May 21 before the tournament finishes on May 26.
India begin their World Cup campaign against Ireland on June 5 in New York, and then play Pakistan, USA and Canada on June 9, 12 and 15.

India squad for 2024 T20 World Cup

(With player's IPL 2024 stats as of April 30)
1 Rohit Sharma (capt) (311 runs, strike rate 160.30)
2 Yashasvi Jaiswal (249 runs, strike rate 154.65)
3 Virat Kohli (500 runs, strike rate 147.49)
4 Suryakumar Yadav (166 runs, strike rate 171.13)
5 Rishabh Pant (398 runs, strike rate 158.56)
6 Sanju Samson (385 runs, strike rate 161.08)
7 Hardik Pandya (197 runs, strike rate 151.53, 4 wickets, economy rate 11.94)
8 Shivam Dube (350 runs, strike rate 172.41)
9 Ravindra Jadeja (157 runs, strike rate 131.93, 5 wickets, economy rate 7.54)
10 Axar Patel (149 runs, strike rate 124.16, 9 wickets, economy rate 7.24)
11 Kuldeep Yadav (12 wickets, economy rate 12.45)
12 Yuzvendra Chahal (13 wickets, economy rate 9.00)
13 Arshdeep Singh (12 wickets, economy rate 9.63)
14 Jasprit Bumrah (14 wickets, economy rate 6.63)
15 Mohammed Siraj (6 wickets, economy rate 9.50)
Reserve players
Shubman Gill (320 runs, strike rate 140.96)
Rinku Singh (123 runs, strike rate 150)
Khaleel Ahmed (12 wickets, economy rate 9.47)
Avesh Khan (9 wickets, economy rate 9.54)

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo