The BCCI on Monday announced a 17-member squad for the upcoming Asia Cup, which gets underway next week in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The announcement was done in the presence of India skipper Rohit Sharma and BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar, who also indicated that this will more or less be the same unit that’ll play the World Cup 2023, which will be held shortly after the continental event.
In what may come as a big relief for fans both KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, who were troubled by injuries, have been included in the team. Agarkar confirmed that Iyer has regained complete fitness, but Rahul could miss the initial stages of the Asia Cup due to a minor niggle.
Meanwhile, there have been a few notable absentees and the one who has been most talked about is Yuzvendra Chahal. The wrist spinner failed to make the cut with the management preferring Kuldeep Yadav over him.
The exclusion of Chahal generated mixed reactions from the ex-cricketers, with Australia great Matthew Hayden noting it a “big omission”.
“There’re some big omissions. Chahal in particular, that leg-spinner is such a superb player and (it) must be tough for the selectors because they’ve also got another one in Kuldeep (Yadav)…. he’s a superb player. So, they’ve gone for that as an option,” the ex-Australian batter was quoted as saying by PTI.
He was not the only one who lamented the absence of Chahal from the squad. Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly and ex-India all-rounder Irfan Pathan also echoed similar views.
“I would pick Chahal. I would always pick wrist-spinners,” Ganguly told Hindustan Times in an interview.
Pathan, on the other hand, expressed his views on social media, where he wrote: “Worry for selectors that Bumrah and Prasidh coming back from long lay off. That’s one of the two reasons you will see Indian team playing with an extra bowler who can bat. I would have Chahal in my squad. What do you guys think?”
Meanwhile, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar felt it is Kuldeep’s batting, which gave him the edge. “Sometimes you’re looking at the balance of the team. Maybe, you can say that Kuldeep is a handy batter down the order, so maybe that’s why he gets the nod ahead of Chahal. Also, he brings a left-hand variety.” Gavaskar to India Today.
Does Chahal still have an outside chance to make the cut?
It will be interesting to see if the management will somehow squeeze in Chahal for the showpiece event, which gets underway from October 5. Taking the names of veteran spinner R Ashwin, all-rounder Washington Sundar, and Chahal, the skipper in the press conference on Monday revealed “the door is still open” for them to make it to the World Cup squad.