Allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, still recovering from a shoulder injury, and young left-arm spinner Axar Patel were on Tuesday included in India’s 15-member squad for the cricket World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand from next month.
India World Cup Squad: MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Stuart Binny, Umesh Yadav.
Allrounder Stuart Binny also made the cut while there was no place for Murali Vijay and Robin Uthappa in the squad, announced by BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel after a selection committee meeting here.
The five-man selection panel, however, ignored Yuvraj Singh, who was not in the list of the 30-member probables but had come into reckoning after his three back-to-back centuries in the Ranji Trophy.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan, who struggled in the ongoing Test series against Australia, has also been retained in the squad for the high-profile event to be held from February 14 to March 29.
The squad, to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni has no major surprises with the selectors opting to go with four specialist pace bowlers — Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav — considering the pacy wickets in Australia and New Zealand.
The 20-year-old Axar Patel, who has made a reasonably good impression in the few ODIs he has played, was expectedly picked in the squad, considering that Jadeja’s fitness could be an issue.
The selectors have however taken some risk in picking Jadeja in the squad but Patel expressed confidence that the all-rounder will be fully fit before the biggest cricket tournament.
“Jadeja at present is undergoing rehabilitation programme. He is doing wonderfully well. We had detailed discussion with BCCI physio (on his inclusion) and we are confident that he will return to training within 10 days,” Patel said on Jadeja’s fitness.
Patel said Yuvraj’s name was deliberated upon but they decided against selecting him.
“Not only Yuvraj Singh but other names were also discussed apart from the 30 probables. There were deliberations between five selectors and captain Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher were on the conference call,” Patel said.
The selectors also announced the team for the tri-series to follow the Test matches in Australia. Hosts Australia, India and England will compete in the tri-series. Apart from the 15 selected for the World Cup, Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma have been included.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane can perform the role of the opener while Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rayudu and Dhoni will bat in the middle order.
The squad has three spinners in R Ashwin, Patel and Jadeja though it is highly unlikely that more than two spinners will be in the playing XI during the matches.
Despite the failures of Dhawan, particularly in the Tests, the selectors have reposed faith in the left-handed opener.
About Ishant’s injury, Patel said: “Ishant Sharma has a knee injury. He’s doing well but has been advised by the BCCI Physio to not play the current Test. He has a knee related problem some water retention,” Patel said.