Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar, with his fast leg-breaks, will fight it out for the additional tweaker’s slot when the selectors pick the Indian squad for next month’s ICC T20 World Cup in the coming couple of days.
It is expected that the Chetan Sharma-led selection committee will meet at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai and link up with skipper Virat Kohli in Manchester and coach Ravi Shastri in London either on Tuesday or more likely on Wednesday.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah (convenor of selection committee) are also expected to be a part of the most important selection by the committee.
While most of the teams are announcing 15-member squads, the BCCI is expected to announce either an 18 or 20 member squad as the ICC will allow a squad strength of 30, instead of 23 in earlier editions, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The number is inclusive of the support staff.
Any team can have more than 30-member squads but the extra cost is supposed to be borne by the country’s cricket board.
The Indian white-ball team will have at least 13 to 15 members, who are automatic selections but there are a few spots for which there would be some discussions.
Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja are two spinners who are all but sure of their slots and it could well be a toss up between Chakravarthy, who has had good IPL runs and Rahul, who impressed in the recent tour of Sri Lanka.
With Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul both capable of donning the big gloves, Ishan Kishan, with some good performances for India in the recent tour of Sri Lanka, is expected to pip the highly-rated-but-under-performing Sanju Samson.
With Hardik Pandya not bowling his full quota of four overs, Shardul Thakur might be required after his new-found batting prowess.
Suryakumar Yadav can be called a certainty while Shreyas Iyer will get his rightful place back in the squad.
For the extra opener’s slot after Rohit Sharma and Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, with good back-to-back IPLs, and an in-form Prithvi Shaw will be locking horns. But in case of a 20 member squad, both might get a look-in.
Washington Sundar’s injury, which has ruled him out of IPL, also means that if he is picked, it will be without any match practice.
Among left-arm pacers, Chetan Sakariya and T Natarajan are there but the latter has hardly played anything while the former may accompany the the team as a net bowler.
The Likely Squad:
Certainties (14): Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Buvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur
Extra Opener: Shikhar Dhawan/Prithvi Shaw
Reserve keeper: Ishan Kishan/Sanju Samson
Extra Spinner: Varun Chakravarthy/Rahul Chahar
Left-arm pacer: Chetan Sakariya/T Natarajan
Subject to Fitness: Washington Sundar.
Cover for Jadeja: Axar Patel/Krunal Pandya.