Seasoned opener Gautam Gambhir was omitted from India’s 30-member probables for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 scheduled to be held in Bangladesh while veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh was named in the list.
Delhi all-rounder Rajat Bhatia was a surprise inclusion while young Kerala wicket-keeper Sanju Samson, who has been a revellation in the shortest format, and former India U-19 captain Unmukt Chand were also included in the probables list for the event to be held from March 16 to April 6.
Unheralded Railways leg-spinner Karn Sharma, who made an impression in the IPL and Champions League for Sunrisers Hyderabad, has also been named in the list announced by the BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel.
Harbhajan has been rewarded for his IPL performance last season where he was among the top wicket-takers with 24 scalps at an impressive economy rate of 6.15. His batting form has also been good of late as he hit a match-winning 92 for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final last week.
The left-handed Gambhir, who is no longer in the Indian ODI or Test team, failed to make the cut alongwith Virender Sehwag, another senior player was has been out of the selection radar for some time due to poor form.
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Irfan and Yousuf Pathan, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay also did not figure in the list.
But the biggest surprise has been the inclusion of 34-year-old Rajat Bhatia. A Delhi stalwart, Bhatia has been pretty effective for Kolkata Knight Riders. He has scored 5089 runs and has taken 107 wickets in 87 first-class matches.
He has played 104 T20 matches and has played in all six IPLs with the first three for Delhi Daredevils and the last three for KKR. His strike-rate is 116 coming in at No 7 or 8 while he has taken 78 wickets at an economy rate of 7.15 which is decent by T20 standards.
Bengal’s Ashok Dinda (37 wickets) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (584 runs and 9 wickets) however failed to make it to the 30-member squad.
The probables list has largely been picked on the basis of IPL performance and that is the reason why Mandeep Singh of Kimgs XI Punjab and Shahbaz Nadeem the left-arm spinner of Delhi Daredevils have also made the grade.
Probables: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Kartik, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Stuart Binny, Mohit Sharma, Kedar Jadhav, Yuvraj Singh, Amit Mishra, Rajat Bhatia, Sanju Vishwanadh Samson, Ishwar Pandey, Umesh Yadav, Unmukt Chand, Mandeep Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Varun Aaron, S. Nadeem, Parthiv Patel, Karn Sharma