» Cricket » Shami in squad for World T20, Asia Cup; Negi gets surprise call

Shami in squad for World T20, Asia Cup; Negi gets surprise call

Last updated on: February 05, 2016 14:53 IST
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Mohammad Shami's inclusion subject to fitness.

Pacers Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar ignored.

Young Jasprit Bhumrah, Hardik Pandya among the 15 picked.

IMAGE: Pawan Negi in action during an Indian Premier League match. Photograph: BCCI

IMAGE: Pawan Negi in action during an Indian Premier League match. Photograph: BCCI

Young all-rounder Pawan Negi was the surprise inclusion in India’s squad for the World Twenty20 and Asia Cup even as the selectors reposed faith in old warhorses Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh for the two tournaments.

Youngsters like Jasprit Bhumrah and Hardik Pandya, who impressed in the recent series against Australia, also found a place in the squad, announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Anurag Thakur after the selection committee met in Delhi on Friday.

"This is the best combination of 15 we can think of," Sandeep Patil, chairman of the selection committee, said at the press conference that followed the selectors’ meeting.

Interestingly, the pace duo of Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were ignored.

Manish Pandey, who featured in the T20 series against Australia, was left out of the squad, to be led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The Asia Cup will be held in Bangladesh from February 24 to March 6, while World T20 is from March 8 to April 3 in India.

Patil reaffirmed the selectors’ faith in Dhoni's leadership despite the recent mixed run in the limited-overs series Australia.

"We have no right to tell people when to retire; we have total faith in Dhoni's captaincy. He is the right person to lead in Asia Cup and World T20," he said.

The 23-year-old Negi, who bowls left-arm spin and is a decent batsman, was rewarded for his consistent performance in the domestic circuit.

That Negi would be a contender for the World Cup team was obvious when he was selected for the three-match series against Sri Lanka later this month.

Ajinkya Rahane

IMAGE: Ajinkya Rahane. Photograph: Getty Images

Ajinkya Rahane also found a place in the squad ahead of Pandey, who hit a match-winning century in the last ODI against Australia.

Pandey got his break following an injury to Rahane, and even though he made it count the selectors opted to go with the more experienced player.

"Manish Pandey performed exceptionally well in Australia; his name was also discussed.

"When selectors pick a team, we always give importance to domestic performance. It is not that we are only looking at seniors; we have looked at the performance, fitness and record of the domestic players as well. We have taken into account all the performances of not just 15-16 guys but all the domestic players and then picked these 15," Patil said.

Senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was retained despite not getting a single T20 match in the series against Australia.

"Harbhajan has been a part of this team. The selectors, the team management and the captain have faith in Harbhajan; his record and the contribution he has made to the team," Patil explained.

Injury-prone pacer Mohammed Shami, who sustained an injury last month during the Australia tour, was picked subject to fitness.

"Shami has 30 days before the World T20. We have good time in hand to take a call on Shami. He has been one of our best bowlers. For now, I can only say that he has recovered and started bowling," added Patil.

He said the team management had done its share of experimentation during the Australia tour.

"We experimented during Australia and discussed which players would be good for replacements. For the T20 format, where you won't get too much time, we discussed a few names. In the shorter format, horses for courses has worked."

India's squad for the World T20 and Asia Cup:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Pawan Negi, Mohammad Shami.

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