T20 World Cup: Selectors say, ‘Decision on Chahal in hands of team management,’ BCCI’s medical team to check Hardik Pandya’s fitness

With October 10 deadline closing soon, the selectors have decided to stick to the 15-member squad they picked on September 8. Even though IPL 2021 threw the selectors a unique challenge with some star names out of form and overlooked players returning to their best, they have decided to stick to the players for the T20 World Cup.

That means Mumbai Indians’ Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar and Hardik Pandya will retain their places while Shreyas Iyer has to be satisfied with a place on standby. But as for Yuzvendra Chahal, the selectors have left the decision to the team management.

As Yuzvendra Chahal returned to form with 12 wickets in 7 matches in IPL 2021 in UAE and Rahul Chahar was dropped from Mumbai Indians’ playing XI, a lot of questions were raised on if the selectors will replace the MI leg-spinner with the RCB spinner. But InsideSport has learnt that selectors will not change the squad for the T20 World Cup and a decision on Chahal has been left to the Team India management.

“All are in form, there is no need to change the squad. Chahal has done well but Rahul was picked keeping some specific criteria in mind. If the team management requests, Chahal will stay back as injury cover but no decision has been taken on that yet,” a BCCI source confirmed.

The fact that Yuzvendra Chahal will be busy with IPL 2021 Playoffs and is already with skipper Virat Kohli, it is believed that he will stay back even if it is as a net bowler and an injury cover. Even though not named, he can help a young Rahul Chahar regain confidence.

However, despite earlier indications that Ishan Kishan will be replaced with Shreyas Iyer, who was named amongst the standby players, the selectors have decided against it at the last moment. They believe it will not be right to drop Kishan, who played two great knocks after returning to MI Playing XI and dropping him will hurt his confidence. The youngster smashed a 25-ball 50 against Rajasthan Royals and followed it up with a 32-ball 84.

Will there be any changes to India’s squad?

  • The selectors have decided against making any changes at the last moment despite calls for dropping Rahul Chahar.
  • Yuzvendra Chahal is likely to be with the squad in UAE as an injury cover.
  • Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav’s return to form has come as a great relief as their selection had raised questions with their dwindling form.
  • Shreyas Iyer will miss out if there is no late injury scare in Team India.
  • Varun Chakaravarthy is being monitored by BCCI medical team. If he is declared unfit, Yuzvendra Chahal will be slotted in. The Tamil Nadu and KKR spinner is undergoing a knee problem.
  • Hardik Pandya’s situation too is being monitored but he will keep his place in the squad. He is expected to join Team India’s camp in Dubai in a day or two and BCCI medical team will take over his fitness regime.

“How can you justify dropping Ishan or Surya? You can’t really drop Surya and Ishan when they score 80 odd runs in 30 odd balls. They might not have done well in the previous matches but their return to form is great to see. Shreyas hasn’t really picked up from the 40-odd runs. There is another World Cup next year and we will see how he does before that. We have a balanced squad at the moment,” the BCCI sourced said.

However, the Hardik Pandya situation has complicated affairs. Even though he continues to be the selectors’ darling as the only viable seam-bowling all-rounder option in T20s, the confidence is waning day by day. For the moment, he keeps his place with a split decision as many inside BCCI wanted to drop a one-dimensional Hardik, who didn’t bowl a single over in IPL 2021 Phase 2.

InsideSport has learnt that Hardik Pandya will join the Team India camp in Dubai along with Mumbai Indians’ India stars apart from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and will undergo intense rehabilitation under the watchful eyes of BCCI’s medical team. But Hardik Pandya’s inclusion in India’s Playing XI will rely on his return to bowling. If he is fit enough to bowl 4 overs, he will return, otherwise, the team management is likely to look at a spin-bowling allrounder in either Axar Patel or Ravichandran Ashwin. Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur aren’t ruled out completely either.

“Mumbai medical team is coordinating with BCCI. He will join the camp in a day or two and we will take it from there. He has regained his fitness and hopefully, in the next two weeks, he will be ready to bowl,” the source said.

India Squad T20 WC: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), 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, Mohd Shami.

Standby players: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar