Ruturaj Gaikwad will lead the India men’s squad in the upcoming Asian Games T20 competition. Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh and Jitesh Sharma, all of whom are uncapped in T20 internationals, also feature in the 15-member squad.
With the men’s ODI World Cup scheduled to begin in India on October 5, two days before the end of the Asian Games cricket competition, the BCCI has named a second-string men’s side, while the women’s squad for the competition in Hangzhou is at full strength.
Only six players from the T20I squad for the Caribbean and USA tour – Jaiswal, Tilak, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar and Avesh Khan – have been picked in the squad for the Asian Games.
Notably, this was the first India call-up for Uttar Pradesh batter Rinku, who had set the IPL alight with his power and finishing skills for Kolkata Knight Riders. Vidarbha and Punjab Kings finisher Jitesh also found a place in the squad after being omitted for the T20Is in the Caribbean and USA. This is also an opportunity for allrounder Washington Sundar and his Sunrisers Hyderabad team-mate Rahul Tripathi to prove their T20 chops again. Both players were part of the home T20I series against New Zealand in February earlier this year, but they were left out for the upcoming T20Is against West Indies. They have been on a steady diet of T20 cricket recently, having turned out in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) and MPL (Maharashtra Premier League).
There was no room for Prithvi Shaw, who has been named in West Zone’s squad for the Deodhar Trophy, after which he will travel to the UK for a county stint with Northamptonshire.
Bengal and Royal Challengers Bangalore left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed will work with Washington and Bishnoi in the spin attack. Shivam Dube is the only seam-bowling allrounder in the squad though he didn’t bowl a single ball for Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2023. Dube had hurt his finger while fielding against Mumbai Indians in May and played the IPL knockouts with the injury. He has now recovered sufficiently to be named in both this squad and the West Zone squad for the Deodhar Trophy.
Venkatesh Iyer didn’t make it to the Asian Games squad and was part of the list of reserve players, which also included B Sai Sudharsan, who turned heads with a 47-ball 96 for Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2023 final against CSK. R Sai Kishore, who has had multiple stints as a net bowler with the Indian sides, was also among the stand-by players. Punjab’s Prabhsimran Singh was picked as the second keeper after Jitesh.
Cricket has featured twice in the Asian Games – in 2010 and 2014 – but India didn’t take part in those events. As in the 2010 and 2014 editions, T20 will be the format of the cricket event in Hangzhou. The men’s cricket competition at the Asian Games will run from 28th September to 8th October.
India men’s squad: Ruturaj Gaikwad (capt), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rahul Tripathi, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Shivam Mavi, Shivam Dube, Prabhsimran Singh (wk)
Stand-bys: Yash Thakur, R Sai Kishore, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, B Sai Sudharsan
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