Negi included, Pandey overlooked in squad for World T20

Negi included, Pandey overlooked in squad for World T20

India’s 15-man squad for the forthcoming Asia Cup and World Twenty20 championships threw little surprises as the selectors didn’t tinker much with the unit they had picked for the forthcoming three matches against Sri Lanka.

The changes feature the return of seamer Mohammad Shami, who replaces Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and the exit of Manish Pandey for Test captain Virat Kohli.

Shami, who had last played for India in the 2015 World Cup, had to return from the tour of Australia in January owing to a hamstring injury. With India playing their first match of the World T20 on March 15 against New Zealand, chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil said they had enough time to take a final call on Shami. The Asia Cup is scheduled in Bangladesh from February 24 to March 6.

“The advantage with Shami is that from now we have 30 days before we start the World T20," Patil said. "Also we have the Asia Cup. So we have good time for making a call on Shami. He has been one of our best bowlers. He has recovered, he has started bowling. That's what I can say at the moment," Patil said.

"Regarding Manish Pandey, it is difficult to say whether a player is dropped or rested, it’s a tough call to make because Manish did exceptionally well in Australia. He is a player for the future.

“When selectors pick a team, we always give importance to domestic performance. It is not that we are only looking at seniors, we have looked at the performance, fitness and record of the domestic players as well. We have taken into account all the performances of not just 15-16 guys but all the domestic players."

Pandey, who enthralled with his maiden ODI century in his match-winning effort in the last ODI in Sydney, would be appearing in the three-match series against Sri Lanka as a replacement for Kohli. The selectors, meanwhile, preferred Ajinkya Rahane, who can also fill in the opening slot.

Barring the two changes, the MS Dhoni-led squad remains in line with the one picked against Sri Lanka. In fact, the core of the T20 side which defeated Australia 3-0 has been kept intact. The names of seasoned Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh balance the presence of greenhorns like Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Pawan Negi.

From the squad that toured Australia recently, Rishi Dhawan, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Umesh Yadav had been dropped for the Sri Lanka series and they have not been recalled.
The left-arm spinner Negi, who plays for Delhi in the domestic circuit, was picked for the T20 squad for Sri Lanka last week. The 23-year-old, who had played for Chennai Super Kings, has been retained for the Asia Cup and World T20. Apart from his left-arm spin, he is also a big hitting lower-order batsman.

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