Aakash Chopra has expressed his disappointment over Yuzvendra Chahal’s exclusion from India’s 15-member squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the UAE. Chopra further stated that he would’ve preferred Deepak Chahar over Mohammed Shami in the line-up, considering their overall T20I records.
India, on Wednesday, September 8, announced their 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup in the UAE. While Ravichandran Ashwin made a return to the format after four years, Shikhar Dhawan and Yuzvendra Chahal were the most notable absentees.
Aakash Chopra was “shocked” at Chahal’s exclusion, who he thinks is the second-best T20 leg-spinner in the world currently. Notably, Chahal is India’s leading wicket-taker in T20I cricket, with 63 scalps at 25.30 from 49 outings.
"I am actually shocked. I took it for granted that Yuzvendra Chahal would be there as he's your No.1 T20 spinner,” Chopra told ESPNCricinfo. “He's probably the second-best T20 leg-spinner in the world after Rashid Khan. You picked five spinners and there's no Yuzvendra Chahal. That's not surprising. It's shocking. Five spinners in a squad is a luxury and you don't need that many spin bowlers in a tournament.”
Chopra further expressed his surprise over Deepak Chahar’s exclusion, given that India only have three specialist seamers in Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Mohammed Shami, alongside all-rounder Hardik Pandya. Chahar has been named as a standby option, alongside Shreyas Iyer and Shardul Thakur.
"We don't know Hardik Pandya's bowling prowess and will have to see it during the IPL,” said the former India opener. “They have no backup for Hardik and there are only three specialist pacers in the squad. There are two major exclusions. Yuzvendra Chahal missing out is shocking and Deepak Chahar's exclusion is surprising too, as he also gives you wickets with the new ball."
Chopra also stated that he would have preferred Chahar over the experienced Shami in the original squad. While Chahar has picked 20 wickets from 14 matches at 19.3, Mohammed Shami has 12 wickets from as many games at 35.67.
"Mohammed Shami, as good a bowler he is, doesn't have impressive numbers in T20s,” he remarked. “Between the two, I would have gone for Deepak Chahar."