All-rounder Shardul Thakur has swapped places with Axar Patel in the India squad for the International T20 Cup. Thakur, who was in the team as a standby player has been promoted to the 15-man squad, while Axar has dropped down to the reserve players category, which also has Deepak Chahar and Shreyas Iyer.
The call to add Shardul Thakur could have been inspired by the fact that BCCI is not sure if Pandya will be able to bowl in the showpiece event or not. While announcing the India squad, it was revealed that Pandya has been selected as an all-rounder and will bowl his quota of 4 overs in the showpiece event. However, the Mumbai Indians all-rounder didn't bowl a single over in the UAE leg of IPL.
There were speculations that Pandya may be left out of the squad while BCCI will include an extra pacer to strengthen their pace attack which includes Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. However, BCCI stuck with Hardik given the impact he can have on a game. The inclusion of Shardul Thakur will give India a backup for Hardik Pandya. If Hardik is not fit to bowl in the mega event, Shardul will give India an option of a fast-bowling all-rounder.
BCCI also revealed that eight IPL bound players will stay in UAE to assist the Indian team. The players are Avesh Khan, Umran Malik, Harshal Patel, Lukman Meriwala, Venkatesh Iyer, Karn Sharma, Shahbaz Ahmed and K Gowtham.
Shardul Thakur is in fine form in the UAE leg of IPL and has picked up 13 wickets in eight games played so far. He’ll have an opportunity to add a few more to his tally in the final.
India will take on Pakistan in their opening game of the International T20 Cup. They will also play a couple of warm up games against England and Australia on October 18 and 20 respectively.
Here’s the updated squad:
Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami
Standby Players: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Axar Patel
Net Bowlers: Avesh Khan, Umran Malik, Harshal Patel, Lukman Meriwala, Venkatesh Iyer, Karn Sharma, Shahbaz Ahmed and K. Gowtham