Mumbai:While Karnataka speedster R Vinay Kumar was on Friday rewarded for his consistent performance in domestic cricket as well as the ongoing Indian Premier League, some of the top performers of the T20 tournament were ignored for the India's 15-member squad for next month's Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.
The 26-year-old Vinay Kumar, who has been impressive in the ongoing IPL, was the only new face in the squad to be led by MS Dhoni. Vinay has forced his way into the team on the back of his consistent performance in domestic cricket, claiming 46 wickets in the Ranji Trophy. He has so far captured 202 wickets in 54 first class matches with eight for 32 his best figures.
Elated with his selection, Vinay vowed to put his best foot forward if he gets an opportunity in the forthcoming Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies. "It is always a great feeling to be given the honour of playing for the country, I am elated. I thank the selectors for recognising my performance.I will do my very best to vindicate their faith in me," Vinay said. (Pics: Men going to West Indies)
Barring Vinay's inclusion and the recall of Uttar Pradesh leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, there were no major surprises in the squad announced by the BCCI secretary N Srinivasan after a selection panel meeting here.
The diminutive Chawla pipped Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra for the second spinner's berth in the squad which has Harbhajan Singh as the spin spearhead. Chawla returns to the Indian team after a gap of nearly two years, the 2008 Asia Cup in Pakistan being his last appearance.
Chawla, who plays for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, has done a decent job with the ball so far, which prompted the selectors to include him in the squad.
However players like Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey and Amit Mishra, who are performing consistently in the IPL 3, were left disappointed. Delhi batsman Kohli, who was in the ODI squad against South Africa last month, was a brow-raising exclusion from the event to be held in the Caribbean from April 30 to May 16, as he had performed exceptionally well for India in the recent one-day series and is playing crucial role Royal Challengers Bangalore's good run in the third season of the IPL.
Pacers Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth and RP Singh, who were in the provisional 30-member list, have also failed to figure in the squad.
However chairman of selectors Krishnamachari Srikkanth said the best possible and strongest team has been picked for the World T20 Championships. "We have selected the best team for the Twenty20 World Cup. We are happy with the performance of every member of the team. They have shown consistency," Srikkanth said after picking the squad. (Also Read: Best team picked for World T20: Srikkanth)
"The Twenty20 World Cup is still one month away and we hope that this team will do well in the event," he said.
Srikkanth also said as of now there is no worry.
"Everyone is hundred per cent fit and all the fitness certificates have been submitted to the Board. All the members are fit and fine," he said.
Ashish Nehra, who has not played a single match in the ongoing IPL because of a rib cage injury, has been included in the squad with the selectors expecting the gangling paceman to be fully fit for the mega event.
Gambhir, who is also carrying an injury, has been included in the squad and will partner his Delhi team-mate and vice-captain Virender Sehwag at the top of the order.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik has also been named in the squad with the selectors preferring to have a cover for captain Dhoni who has just recovered from an injury.
In the run-up to the selection meeting, several former cricketers wanted Sachin Tendulkar, who has been in red hot form, to be part of the Twenty20 squad, but the champion batsman had made it clear that he had no intentions of playing the shortest format of the game for the country.
The squad has five specialist batsmen in vice-captain Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma, two all-rounders in Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja.
Jadeja had been banned from this year's IPL and the all-rounder has appealed against the decision. A verdict on the appeal is expected soon.
Besides Vinay Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar were the pacers in the squad. Zaheer and Harbhajan were making a return after missing India's last Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka in December last.
All-rounder Irfan Pathan, who was one of the four players who went to England for the 2009 T20 World Cup, find themselves left out of the squad. But Irfan said his time would come and all he wanted was to keep playing cricket. "I want to be the next big thing in international cricket and when my time comes nobody will be able to stop me. My bowling is still a little below par but thats understandable since I had a month and a half off due to injury," said Irfan, who is performing well for Kings XI Punjab but to no avail in the IPL 3.
Others who were dropped from the 30-member provisional list announced earlier for the April 30-May 16 mega-event were Sudeep Tyagi, Abhishek Nayar, Wriddhiman Saha, Naman Ojha, Abhimanyu Mithun, Manish Pandey, Munaf Patel, Murali Vijay and Ravichandran Ashwin.
The complete squad is:
(With PTI inputs)