India have made a change to their T20 World Cup 2021 squad with fast bowler Shardul Thakur replacing all-rounder Axar Patel. Axar will also be with the team, but in the stand-by players’ list which also has Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar. This is so far the only change announced by the BCCI despite rumours of Hardik Pandya not being fully fit doing the rounds.
In additional to this announcement, the Indian Cricket Board also named eight players who will assist the team in its preparations – Delhi Capitals fast bowlers Avesh Khan and Lukman Meriwala, Sunrisers Hyderabad fast bowler Umran Malik, Royal Challengers Bangalore fast bowler Harshal Patel and all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed, Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, Chennai Super Kings slow bowler Karn Sharma and all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham.
Earlier on September 8, India had named a preliminary 15-man squad for the tournament, in which Shardul was named in the reserves and Axar in the main squad. The aggressive fast bowler from Mumbai Cricket Association has played 22 T20Is for India, from which he has 31 wickets. He knows how to swing the bat too, and has a strike rate of 197.14 from the five innings he has played. Thakur has also impressed in the on-going Indian Premier League, where he has 18 wickets in 15 matches for the MS Dhoni-led side so far.
Besides Shardul, the others in the squad are 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, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Mohammad Shami.
Originally scheduled to be played in 2020 in India, the tournament was postponed and moved to UAE and Oman and will be played from 17 October to 14 November. Most of the matches will be played in the UAE, while some games of the preliminary stage will be hosted by Oman.
India will begin their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on October 24, after which they will meet New Zealand on October 31 at the same venue. Their third game is against Afghanistan on November 3 in Abu Dhabi. Which teams India will play in their last two games of the Super 12 stage will be known during the course of the tournament.
While this will be Virat Kohli’s last assignment as the T20I captain of India, MS Dhoni will be making a return to the team as a mentor.
Also Read: Who has the most wickets in T20 cricket?