The recent announcement of India’s 17-man squad for the upcoming Asia Cup, set to commence on September 2, has sparked debates and discussions among cricket enthusiasts, with Yuzvendra Chahal’s unexpected omission from the squad drawing attention. Chahal, a prominent leg-spinner, found himself on the outside looking in, raising eyebrows and eliciting varied reactions from the cricketing fraternity.
Axae over Chahal?
The leg-spinner was part of the Indian side that took on the West Indies in a three-match ODI series held in July-August. However, Chahal did not feature in any of the XI selections for the matches. Instead, India opted to entrust the spin-bowling duties to Kuldeep Yadav as the sole frontline spinner, while the left-arm orthodox bowling of Ravindra Jadeja provided the complementary spin option.
As the Asian cricketing powerhouse named their squad for the highly anticipated Asia Cup, Chahal’s absence emerged as a significant talking point. The selectors’ decision to include Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel as the spin-bowling options for the tournament left Chahal out of the equation. This decision has sparked criticism from sections of cricket enthusiasts who have questioned the reasoning behind Chahal’s exclusion.
Amid the chatter surrounding Chahal’s omission, former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly offered his perspective on the matter. Ganguly lent his support to the selectors’ decision, highlighting the unique value that Axar Patel brings to the team. Ganguly acknowledged that Patel’s batting ability played a pivotal role in securing his spot in the squad. He also hinted that Chahal could potentially make a return to the squad if the need arises due to injuries.
Ganguly addressed the selection rationale during an event organized by Cycle Pure Agarbathi, where he stated, “They have picked Axar Patel ahead of (Yuzvendra) Chahal because of his batting. So I think it’s a good selection. Chahal can still come back if someone gets injured. This is a 17-member squad, two, in any case, will have to move out.”
Ganguly’s take on India vs Pakistan
Shifting the focus to the impending clash between arch-rivals India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup, Ganguly emphasised that rankings hold little significance when these two cricketing giants lock horns. While Pakistan occupies the second position in the ICC ODI rankings, India stands at the third spot. Ganguly praised Pakistan’s formidable pace attack, highlighting the prowess of bowlers like Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, and Haris Rauf.
However, Ganguly stressed that the outcome of the match hinges on the team’s performance on the given day. He eloquently summed up the sentiment, stating, “Rankings don’t matter, who plays well on that day matters. They are a very good side. They have a very good bowling attack — Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf. They are a very balanced team. India is a strong side. It’s how you play on that particular day; there is no rocket science to it.”