MS Dhoni returns to Team India in new avatar for T20 World Cup
New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Indian cricket fans were in for a great surprise as former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Wednesday appointed mentor of India's 15-member T20 World Cup squad by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Announcing the move, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said that he spoke to Dhoni in Dubai and he agreed to mentor the team for T20 World Cup.
"Former India Captain MS Dhoni to mentor the team for the T20 World Cup," announced BCCI secretary Jay Shah in a press conference to unveil the squad for the event scheduled to start October 17 in the UAE and Oman.
"(I) spoke to him in Dubai. He agreed to be mentor for WT20 only and I discussed with my colleagues and all are on the same page. I spoke to captain (Virat Kohli) and vice-captain (Rohit Sharma) and everyone agreed," he added.
The 40-year-old Dhoni retired from international cricket last year having played his last game in the 2019 World Cup semi-final.
Dhoni's inclusion will certainly help the Virat Kohli-led team in devising white-ball strategy. Dhoni's vast experience in winning crucial ICC tournaments will also come in handy.
Dhoni is one of the most successful captains in the history of Indian cricket, and the iconic wicketkeeper-batsman led India to two world titles -- the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa and the 2011 ODI World Cup in India.
Meanwhile, Ravichandran Ashwin returned to India's white-ball outfit after four years alongside the fast-rising trio of Ishan Kishan, Axar Patel and Varun Chakaravarthy.
Also making the squad was Suryakumar Yadav, the 30-year-old Mumbai batsman who has been making a name for himself for his power-hitting.
The T20 World Cup starts October 17 in the UAE and Oman.
The big names to be dropped were opener Shikhar Dhawan and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Rahul Chahar has been preferred over Chahal who was a certainty in India's limited-over squads until now.
Dhawan has been overlooked with K L Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Kishan picked as the three openers.
Talking about the squad, chief selector Chetan Sharma said: "Ashwin is an asset. He performed well in the IPL and we needed a player of his experience. We need an off-spinner with Washington (Sundar) injured.
"Ashwin is the only off-spinner in the squad. Varun is a mystery spinner who is a surprise package for the world," he added.
Sharma also stated that all-rounder Hardik Pandya is "absolutely fit and will bowl his quota of overs."
"We have picked Rahul Chahar over Yuzi as we wanted someone who bowls fast and gets pace off the pitch," Sharma explained.
Axar has been picked as a backup to all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
The others who could not find a place in the main squad were Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer.
Iyer has, however, made the standby's list along with Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar. Thakur has been in tremendous form and has already produced eye-catching performances in the ongoing Test series against England.
India will open their T20 World Cup campaign on October 24 by taking on arch-rivals Pakistan.
Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami.
Standby players: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar.
(With agency inputs)
Posted By: Subhasish Dutta