Former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan has named his Indian squad comprising 15 players for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup. He ignored Mumbai Indians all-rounder Krunal Pandya and chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav while picking his team.
Other notable absentees were Shreyas Iyer and Shardul Thakur, who have performed well for the Indian T20 team over the past year. The 42-year old preferred the likes of Ishan Kishan and Deepak Chahar over them.
Zaheer Khan disclosed his choice of squad during the Cricbuzz live post-match show. He started by stating that the side he selected is flexible and gives the management enough options in the mega tournament. Zaheer Khan said:
"I will open with KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma. Virat and Surya will follow them. I know Virat has made the statement that he wants to open the innings. But I would still say that Virat only opens in case Hardik is not available to bowl. In that scenario, you can sacrifice one batsman and get an extra bowler"
He backed Suryakumar Yadav to adapt to whatever role the team gives him in the tournament. Hardik Pandya and Rishabh are the designated power-hitters in this squad. He then discussed about the bowling combination.
"I have Chahal as the lead leg spinner and also went in with Rahul Chahar as his backup. In this format, we have seen that leg spinner is such a crucial factor. Chakravarthy/Sundar will be the spinners who would be bowling with the new ball. If you want that mystery element, you can choose Chakravarthy, but otherwise, you can go in with Sundar as well," said Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan added that Natarajan's selection would depend on his fitness. If fit, he could be a valuable addition due to his death bowling skills and left-arm variation. He also picked Mohammed Shami as a genuine fast bowling option and also as a back-up to Jasprit Bumrah.
15-man Squad of India: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Rahul Chahar, T Natarajan/Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Washington Sundar/Varun Chakravarthy