KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer were on Monday named in India’s squad for the Asia Cup beginning August 31 while highly-rated young batter Tilak Varma earned a maiden call-up to the one-day format.
However, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and veteran off-spinner were notable omissions from the squad, leaving India with only one wrist spinner in Kuldeep Yadav. Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja are the other spin bowling options.
Pacer Prasidh Krishna, who made a comeback from injury with the ongoing series in Ireland, has also been included in the Asia Cup squad.
Hardik Pandya, who has been named vice-captain, and Shardul Thakur, are the two pace bowling all-rounders while Krishna, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammad Shami are the specialist fast bowlers.
India skipper Rohit Sharma explained the rationale behind Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin’s exclusion leaving the team with no right hand off-spin option.
“We had a deep discussion about an off spinner and leg spinner as well. But things boil down to batting options at Nos 8 and 9. We wanted someone who can bat there. Axar had a good run in white-ball cricket this year. He allows us the option of firstly having that left hander who can go up and play the spinners and then he creates for us the batting depth.
“We thought about an off-spinner as well, Ashwin and Washy (Washington Sundar), but right now you see Chahal had to miss out because we could only pick 17 players,” Rohit said at a press conference during a team announcement on Monday.
“The only way we could have picked him (Chahal) was if one of the seamers was missing. We can’t do that because seamers are going to play a big role in the next two months. A few of them are coming back after a long time, so we wanted to have a good look at them, get them in and see what they have to offer.
“Having said that, no doors are closed on anyone. Anyone can come in anytime. If we feel like we need Chahal for the World Cup, we’ll see how we can squeeze him in, same goes for Washy or Ashwin.”
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