After the BCCI decided to send the India cricket team for the Champions Trophy despite their ongoing tussle with ICC over revenue sharing model, all eyes were on the selectors meet on Monday. Once the India team for the competition was announced, there were no major surprises. As expected Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami retuned to the India squad, while Manish Pandey has also been included in the 15-member team.
Players like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah among others were sure to be part of the team, but the big question remained about India openers with KL Rahul not available.
The selectors have gone with their experienced openers, including Rohit, who might not have been in the best of form in IPL 2017. But, then there is no way Rohit would be overlooked for such a major competition like the Champions Trophy. The Mumbai man is an incredible batsman, who can win matches single-handedly.
Shikhar Dhawan, who has been consistent in IPL 2017, has have got the nod. With Ajinkya Rahane roped in as the third opener, it is a good call considering he can play in the middle order if required and his sound technique against the swinging ball will prove handy as well.
The batting looks healthy as ever with Kohli coming in at number three, and the likes of Dhoni, Yuvraj and Kedar Jadhav making up the middle order. The selectors picked Pandey ahead of players like Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh, who have also been in good form in IPL 2017. Some players like Karthik are in the standby list.
"We considered Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik and Shardul Thakur. They are in our standby list for the ICC Champions Trophy. We discussed Kuldeep. He narrowly missed out, but has a big role to play in future. Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya are youngsters we've been grooming. We're extremely pleased with Rishabh and will groom him too," chief selector MSK Prasad said.
Hardik Pandya is the only specialised all-rounder in the team. There were no major challengers for his spot in the team.
With the ICC event set to take place in England, the BCCI selectors seem to have got the best pacers of the country in the squad. With Mohammed Shami, Umesh, Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah as pacers, it will be interesting to see who will feature in the playing XI.
Who would get into the squad as spinners was not difficult to assume. One knew Jadeja and Ashwin will spearhead the spin attack in England. India could have gone with three spinners had it been hosted in the sub-continent, but they have gone ahead with an extra batsman for the Champions Trophy in England.
India have been clubbed in Gropu B, which also includes Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa. Top two teams of the group will enter the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy.
India squad for Champions Trophy 2017
- Batsman: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Yuvraj Singh.
- Wicket-keeper batsman - MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav.
- All-rounder: Hardik Pandya.
- Bowlers: R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah.