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Rohit Sharma explains rationale behind India’s T20 World Cup 2024 squad selection

The India captain and chief selector discussed the omission of Shubman Gill and Rinku Singh from the 15-member squad, among other decisions.

by Tunae

India named their 15-member squad and four travelling reserves for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 this week and skipper Rohit Sharma and chief selector Ajit Agarkar addressed a press conference to reveal the thinking behind the selection choices made.

While most of India’s squad picked itself, there were a few surprising calls, with the omission of Shubman Gill and Rinku Singh prominent among them.

Calling it one of the “toughest decisions” the selectors had to make, Agarkar explained that the duo had done “nothing wrong” and the choice was due to combinations that the team wanted.

India announce squad for Men’s T20 World Cup 2024

“It [Rinku Singh’s omission from the first 15] is probably the toughest thing we have had to discuss,” Agarkar said.

“He has done nothing wrong, not even Shubman Gill for that matter. It’s about combinations. There are a couple of wrist spinners included to give Rohit more options. It’s just unfortunate. He’s in the reserves, so that tells you how close he came to being in the 15.

“But at the end of the day you can only pick 15 players in the squad.”

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The addition of the two wrist spinners — Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav — means that India have four spinners in their squad of 15, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel being the others.

Rohit didn’t go into the details behind the decision but revealed that India playing morning games in the tournament was a factor behind it.

“I don’t want to go into too much detail because I am sure opposition captains will listen to this,” he said. “I wanted more spinners, we know what the conditions are like. Matches start at 10-10.30 in the morning. There’s a technical aspect involved in this.

“I wanted four spinners and three seamers and with Hardik being there you get the balance. With two spinners being all-rounders, then two attacking spinners give you balance in the spin department as well. Based on opposition composition we can decide who we want to play with.”

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Explaining why India didn’t pick an off-spinner despite the presence of four spinners in the squad, Rohit said that it came down to Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel fighting for one spot, with the latter’s recent form helping him grab the spot.

“We discussed a lot, unfortunately, Washy [Washington Sundar] hasn’t played a lot lately. It was then between Ash and Axar. Ash hasn’t played the format lately. Axar was in good form when he played those five matches against Australia. He has been bowling well and gives us that left-handed option in the middle [with the bat] if we want to do something different.”

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India’s squad is balanced by several all-rounders including vice-captain Hardik Pandya, the two spinners, Axar and Jadeja, and Shivam Dube.

Stating that there was no replacement for what Hardik brings to the side with his all-round ability, Agarkar said that his fitness will be crucial for India.

Rohit, meanwhile, affirmed that the duo would do the exact same roles they fulfill for their IPL sides.

“Expect them to do what they are doing in IPL,” Rohit said.

“Unfortunately Shivam hasn’t bowled a single ball in IPL but he is a seasoned cricketer. When he plays T20 format, it’s about little bit of skills coming in to the picture. I will be expecting if we need Shivam to ball few overs, he will. Same with Hardik, he has come and bowled whenever needed.”

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The other contentious call was around the wicketkeepers with India leaving out KL Rahul, who shone in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 at home, for Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant.

Agarkar explained that Rahul wasn’t considered as the team sought wicketkeepers who could bat down the order.

“KL’s a terrific player. But we wanted players who can bat in the middle,” he said.

“KL’s batting at top right now [for his IPL team]. We felt these two are better equipped at this point in the latter half of the innings.”

The duo also rubbished queries around Virat Kohli’s strike-rate in T20 cricket, stating that there were “no concerns there at all”.

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