New Delhi: Injured quick Mohammed Shami and rookie Delhi all-rounder Pawan Negi were the only two new faces drafted into the 15-strong squad for the Asia Cup and ICC World Twenty20 named here on Friday.
Following the sweep over Australia in the away three-game T20 series, the selectors opted not to tinker too much with team composition, bringing in Negi as cover for Ravindra Jadeja and giving Shami another go after the on-off performance by the bowling Down Under.
“This is the best combination we could think of,” chairman of selectors, Sandeep Patil, after the squad was announced. Shami will need to pass a fitness test, and if he fails to make the cut, India will have to name a replacement as the deadline for nominating teams is at hand. Shami broke down ahead of his very first game in Australia and was replaced by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who has now been dropped from the side.
“Shami has 30 days before the World T20. We have time to take a call on him. He has been one of our best bowlers. For now, I can only say that he has recovered and started bowling,” Patil said.
There were no surprises otherwise with Ajinkya Rahane, the subject of late speculation keeping his berth ahead of Sydney ODI centurion Manish Pandey, along with the experienced trio of Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh.
The Asia Cup will be played in Bangladesh from February 24 to March 6, followed by the World T20. On Dhoni, who had a mixed tour of Australia in losing the ODI series but bouncing back in the T20s, Patil said, “We have total faith in Dhoni. He is the right person to lead the team.”...