Indian selectors included young all-rounder Pawan Negi and paved the way for Bengal pacer Mohammed Shami’s comeback in the Indian squad on Friday for the World Twenty20 and Asia Cup tournaments.
Debutants in the recent limited-overs series Down Under, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya also found a place in the squad. “This is the best combination of 15 we can think of,” chairman of the selectors’ committee, Sandeep Patil, told a news conference.
However, the pace duo of Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been ignored.
Left-arm spinner Negi (23), who is considered handy with the bat, earlier received his first call-up to the India squad who play Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 International in Pune on February 9.
Manish Pandey, who featured in the T20 series against Australia, was left out of the team which will be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“We have no right to tell people when to retire, we have total faith in Dhoni’s captaincy. He is the right person to lead in Asia Cup and World T20,” Patil said.
The Asia Cup will be held from February 24 to March 6, after a four-team qualifying event, from February 19-22, to select one qualifier for the actual tournament.
India take on hosts Bangladesh in the tournament opener at Mirpur followed by matches against arch-rivals Pakistan (February 27), Sri Lanka (March 1) and qualifiers (March 3).
This is the first time the Asia Cup is being played in the T20 format, in a change from the earlier 50-over competitions.
In the World Twenty20 championship, commencing on March 8, India have been seeded in the Super 10 and will play New Zealand in their opening game on March 15 at Nagpur’s VCA Stadium in Jamtha.
MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Mohammed Shami, Pawan Negi.