Shocking omission, surprise inclusion as India name Asia Cup squad
Yuzvendra Chahal was dropped and young Tilak Varma brought were the two major surprises part of India's selection for the forthcoming Asia Cup 2023 in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The squad for the continental event, acting as prelude to the 2023 World Cup, has offered multiple shockers as well as welcome returns of KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Jasprit Bumrah in the One-Day outfit.
Also returning to the 50-overs squad for the coming assignment is Prasidh Krishna after recovering from a stress fracture that sidelined him for the best part of last one year and proving his match fitness in the first two T20Is of the ongoing series in Ireland. As did Bumrah, whose sustained 11-month break and rehabilitation phase from a lower back surgery had posed a major headache for the team management. But the ace speedster comes back in time for the build-up towards 2023 World Cup.
The comeback of Prasidh-Bumrah duo was only imminent once they were approved to play on Irish shores; however, a sense of excitement brew quite widely in the air for the elusive returns of both Rahul and Iyer, the two key middle-order players, who had been recovering from respective hamstring and back surgery since earlier this year.
While Rahul played his most recent game on May 1 when a fatal dive hurt his quadricep during Lucknow Super Giants' (LSG) league stage encounter against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Iyer has been recuperating from a back injury since the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February-March. They return solve India's middle-order puzzle for the critical next two months.
Chahal dropped; Tilak picked from India's Asia Cup party
But the Ajit Agarkar-led panel triggered a shockwave by leaving out experienced wristspinner Yuzvendra Chahal for the Asia Cup on the back of a sustained dip in his international form. Chahal's overall record since the 2019 World Cup is fine, but the wristspinner has lost his place to first-choice Kuldeep Yadav since the start of the year and didn't look penetrative during his recent assignment playing the T20Is against the West Indies.
Chahal's absence perhaps makes it clear India are focusing on Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Kuldeep as the primary World Cup options, with an extra wristspinner who can't offer similar batting abilities and depth as Axar considered surplus to the needs.
Agarkar & company also acted on the word on outside and gave Varma a nod of encourgament after the youngster inspired suggestions on his late inclusion in World Cup plans with an impressive debut T20I series in the Caribbean & USA. The 20-year-old, who boasts of an impressive List A record for Hyderabad, averaging 56.18 with a strike-rate of 101.64, and provides left-hand utility in the absence of Rishabh Pant.
The rest of the squad picked itself but another surprise was the demotion of Sanju Samson to the travelling standbys above the struggling Suryakumar Yadav despite enjoying a better record in the 50-overs game.
India squad for Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (VC), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna
Traveling stand-by player: Sanju Samson