Former India captain MS Dhoni has been roped in as the mentor for the squad which will embark on the journey to win a second T20 World Cup title. The BCCI, on Wednesday, announced a 15-man squad, plus the reserves, for the tournament, to be played in the UAE and Oman from October 17.
MS Dhoni-led a young Men In Blue outfit to glory in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 in South Africa. Then India had defeated arch-rivals Pakistan in the final; their opening match this year is also against Pakistan, on October 24 in Dubai.
MS Dhoni retired from international cricket last year, after having played his last international game during the 2019 World Cup in England – the semifinal loss against New Zealand. He has been playing in the IPL, though, captaining the Chennai Super Kings.
MS Dhoni Roped In As India’s Mentor For T20 World Cup 2021:
The 40-year-old will be mentoring the squad for the mega event. India have failed to lift the trophy again since 2007. In the last tournament, in 2016 at home, India had reached the semi-final stage before losing to the eventual champions, West Indies.
About the decision to rope in MS Dhoni as a mentor, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said: “I spoke to Dhoni in Dubai. He was okay with the decision and agreed to be a mentor for Team India for T20 World Cup only. I spoke to captain, vice-captain and Ravi Shastri also, they all are on same page.”
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 8, 2021
R Ashwin is back; Yuzvendra Chahal left out
Ravichandran Ashwin has been recalled to the T20 setup – and slotted straight into the World Cup team – while leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has been excluded. Rahul Chahar, Ravindra Jadeja, Varun Chakravarthy, and Axar Patel are the other spinners in the squad. Ashwin last played a T20I in July 2017.
Shikhar Dhawan has also been left out while Ishant Kishan, who hit fifties on his T20I and ODI debuts gets a ticket to the World Cup. Three players – Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar – are named as standbys.
Squad: Virat Kohli (c), 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.