ANI Photo | Sehwag reveals his India T20 WC playing eleven, Hardik Pandya not included

Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag on Wednesday revealed the players he would like to see taking to the field for India during the ICC T20 World Cup starting this year in West Indies/USA from June 1.
Sehwag was speaking at the Club Prairie Fire Podcast hosted by legendary cricketers Adam Gilchrist and Michael Vaughan.
Sehwag, one of the most destructive openers and a winner of the 2007 ICC T20 World Cup title, left out star all-rounder Hardik Pandya from his playing eleven, opting to keep him in the squad of 15 instead.
In the eight matches of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season, Pandya has scored 151 runs at an average of 21.57 and a strike rate of 142.45. His best score is 39. Only seven sixes have come out of his bat this season. He has been largely ineffective with the ball too, taking just four wickets at an average of 46.50 and a strike rate of 25.50, with the best figures of 2/43.
Since taking over the captaincy of Gujarat Titans, whom he guided to a title win in their debut season in 2022 and a runners-up spot in 2023, Hardik took more of an anchor approach as a batter. His strike rate in two seasons with GT was around 131 and 136 respectively, which marked a huge decline from his best years in MI. In 2017, he struck at around 156 for MI, then at 133.33 in 2018, then 191.43 in 2019 and 178.98 in 2020.
Sehwag also picked up Rajasthan Royals pacer Sandeep Sharma, who took a five-wicket haul during the last Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Mumbai Indians (MI) and has six wickets this season, as a specialist pacer instead of 25-year-old pacer Arshdeep Singh, who has been a regular in India’s T20I squad, having played 44 T20Is and picked up 62 wickets.
After a stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad from 2018-21, in which he picked 41 wickets in 43 matches, Sandeep featured only in five matches for Punjab Kings next season, picking up two wickets. He was signed as a replacement for an injured Prasidh Krishna and since then, picked up 16 wickets in 15 games at an average of 29.50 and an economy rate of 8.28.
Sandeep, who has taken 130 scalps in 119 IPL games, rose to fame with his exploits in the winning 2012 U19 World Cup campaign, where he took 12 wickets, including a four-fer in the final against Australia. But due to the presence of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, he stayed away from the selector’s radar, just playing two T20Is in 2015 against Zimbabwe.
Sehwag picked up skipper Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal as his openers, Virat Kohli at number three, and number one-ranked T20I batter Suryakumar Yadav at four. The middle order is boosted by wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant (254 runs in eight matches with two fifties and a strike rate of over 150), Rinku Singh or Shivam Dube at sixth spot and Ravindra Jadeja at number seven.
The pacers include Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav is the sole specialist spinner.
Wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul and Sanju Samson, who have been competing with Pant for a T20 WC spot and have outscored him with 302 runs and 314 runs respectively in eight games, did not find a place in Sehwag’s XI.
Virender Sehwag’s T20 WC Playing XI for India: Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Rinku Singh/Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Sandeep Sharma. (ANI)

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