Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out of India's squad for the T20 Asia Cup in the UAE due to injury, the Indian cricket board announced on Monday.
Also on the injured list is seamer Harshal Patel, who has a rib injury. The fitness issues of India's two premier T20 bowlers will worry the team management as that leaves only Bhuvneshwar Kumar and all-rounder Hardik Pandya as experienced pacers in the team. And they both have only recently regained full bowling fitness.
The other pacer named as a standby – Deepak Chahar – is back after six months out due to back injury.
"Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel were not available for selection owing to injuries. They are currently undergoing rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru. Three players – Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar have been named as standbys," the Indian board said in a statement.
The squad for the tournament is seen as the one that would most probably be named for the T20 World Cup in Australia later in the year as well.
Rohit Sharma leads the full-strength squad, with KL Rahul named his deputy having regained fitness following a long period on the sidelines after his surgery for a sports hernia and a subsequent positive test for Covid-19.
Virat Kohli also returns to the T20 squad after a month out from the team. He missed the tour of the Caribbean after being rested and will be desperate to score heavily in the UAE as there is a growing sentiment that Sharma, Rahul and Kohli together in the team could force more attacking and versatile batsmen out of the playing XI.
Left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh retained his spot after impressing during the West Indies tour. He is the only left-arm quick in contention and provides much-needed variety to the attack.
The Asia Cup, played in T20 format this year, was moved from crisis-hit Sri Lanka last month. The tournament begins with Sri Lanka taking on Afghanistan on August 27, while the final takes place on September 11 in Dubai.
The biggest draw of the tournament will be the match between India and Pakistan, which will take place in Dubai on August 28.
The UAE, Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong will play a qualifying round with the winner joining India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the main draw.
India squad for Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wkt), Dinesh Karthik (wkt), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan