New Delhi: The Indian cricket team will start their T20 World Cup campaign with a match against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 24. Ahead of the tournament, questions are being raised over Hardik Pandya’s fitness and availability after the all-rounder did not bowl a single delivery for his team Mumbai Indians in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 Phase 2 in UAE.
As per International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, all teams can make changes in their team till October 15. If Hardik Pandya is not match-fit or unavailable, there are young talented Indian players who can replace him in team India’s 15-member squad. Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar have been picked in India’s T20 team as standbys and they are considered to be the front-runners for replacing Pandya, if needed.
29-year-old Shardul Thakur garnered limelight and fame by playing a key role in India’s win over Australia Down Under earlier this year. Even during India’s tour of England, Shardul made valuable contributions with bat and bowl when he got the opportunity. The young all-rounder has so far bagged 18 wickets from 15 matches.
Just like Shardul, Deepak Chahar is a brilliant bowler but also has the ability to contribute with bat. He had scored an unbeaten 69 to help India beat Sri Lanka during the Sri Lankan tour. In IPL 2021, Deepak Chahar has so far taken 13 wickets from 14 games. However, there has been a slight decline in his form.
Indian Squad for T20 World Cup: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravi Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakraborty, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami.
Stand by: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar.
Net Bowler: Umran Malik
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