Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan has excluded senior batsman Shikhar Dhawan from his 15-man India squad for the T20 World Cup. While the T20 World Cup is still more than a couple of months away, the Indian team will not be playing anymore T20 internationals as the Test series in England will be followed by the IPL which will conclude days before the World Cup begins.

Thus, the recently-concluded series against Sri Lanka, which India lost, was their last bilateral series prior to the mega-event in October.

Zaheer Khan has opted for the pair of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul to open with skipper Virat Kohli slotted at three, despite Kohli stating earlier that he would like to open.

“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”, the former India pacer said on Cricbuzz.

Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan
Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Zaheer Khan had recent debutants Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, both having made sparkling performances in international cricket, over Shreyas Iyer who will return in the IPL 2021 from a shoulder injury. Kishan and Rahul will also provide the backup wicketkeeping options for Rishabh Pant.

In the spin-bowling department, the 2011 World Cup winner has opted for Rahul Chahar and one of Washington Sundar or Varun Chakravarthy to support senior leg-spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal.  He also pointed out he would like to see T Natarajan in the side if Bhuvneshwar Kumar isn’t completely fit. Mohammed Shami makes Zaheer Khan’s squad strengthening the pace department with his experience.

“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,” the left-hand seamer stated.

India are placed in Group 2 alongside Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, and two qualifier teams for the Super 12 stage.

Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar

Zaheer Khan’s 15-member India squad for T20 World Cup:

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