The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the T20I squad for the upcoming tour of Australia yesterday.
Notable inclusions in the squad were Varun Chakravarthy and Sanju Samson, with KL Rahul appointed as the vice-captain in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma. The entire 16-man squad can be found below:
T20I squad: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (VC & wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy
The IPL has acted as a stepping stone to the national team in the recent past, with the likes of Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar making the T20I squad on occasions. Despite the level of competition that comes with the IPL, these 3 players can consider themselves unlucky to have not made India's T20I squad for the Australia tour.
#3 Rahul Chahar
Rahul Chahar has been part of a few of India's T20I squads, but has only one international appearance against the West Indies last year to show for. The leg-spinner has gone from strength to strength in the IPL, though, and has become of the Mumbai Indians' key bowlers.
No bowler has taken more wickets than Chahar in the middle overs in IPL 2020. He has picked up 13 wickets in total at an economy rate of 7.56, and has bowled a couple of exceptional spells to some of the best batsmen in the world (Virat Kohli for example).
Teams like the Kings XI Punjab have experimented with a bowling lineup consisting of two leg-spinners, and India could've done the same with Chahar partnering Yuzvendra Chahal. The two wrist-spinners would've complemented each other well, especially in Australia, where finger-spinners don't enjoy much success.
#2 Suryakumar Yadav
A player who has been knocking on the doors of the national team for some time now, Suryakumar Yadav continues to be ignored by the selectors. And while he has only his own inconsistency to blame, for the third consecutive season, the Mumbai Indians No. 3 averaged over 30 and struck at over 130 in the IPL.
Yadav has played a couple of sensational knocks that showed why he's capable of playing at the international level, with his demolition of Kagiso Rabada still fresh in memory. The classy right-hander is versatile, and has excelled in a range of conditions against a number of bowling attacks.
Time is running out for the 30-year-old to fulfil his potential in Indian colours.
#1 Axar Patel
While it was mentioned earlier that finger-spinners haven't enjoyed conditions Down Under, Axar Patel has been breaking the mould in the IPL for quite a few years now. The left-arm spinner has been one of the best bowlers on display in IPL 2020 so far, with his ability to bowl at any stage of the innings serving the Delhi Capitals very well.
Axar also proved his worth with the bat against MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings when he came to the crease in the final over and launched three huge sixes to chase 16 off 5 balls. The all-rounder is an asset in every department in the T20 format, and the scary part is that he's far better than the bowler who played 11 T20Is for India a few years ago.
One of India's best spinners in the 20-over format at the moment, Axar should've made the Men in Blue's T20I squad for the Australia tour.