Rishabh Pant was restored to the India squad for the T20 World Cup on Tuesday, 16 months after a near-fatal car crash.

Allrounder Shivam Dube, recalled by India last August after more than two years out, also made the cut, and star batters Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were confirmed for the tournament in June in the Caribbean and the United States.

Pant was India’s first-choice wicketkeeper across all three formats until December 2022 when he crashed and dislocated his right knee. He was pulled out by passersby before the car caught fire. Pant feared amputation. He returned to competitive cricket last month for the ongoing Indian Premier League and has proved himself.

Pant has 398 runs in 11 innings — good for fourth overall — at a strike rate of 158.56.

Dube has also lit up the IPL with 350 runs in nine innings at a strike rate of 172.41.

Wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, the only bowler to take 200 wickets in IPL history, was a surprise inclusion because he wasn’t used at the Cricket World Cup that India hosted late last year. Chahal has 13 wickets in nine IPL games at an economy of 9.

India has picked three other spinners; left-arm unorthodox wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, and left-arm spin allrounders Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel.

Sharma and Kohli were informally announced as selections in February by Jay Shah, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

“In the 2023 (final) at Ahmedabad, even though we did not win the World Cup after 10 straight wins, we won hearts,” Shah said then. “I want to promise you that in 2024, under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy, we will hoist the Indian flag in Barbados (in the final on June 29).”

Sharma and Kohli are in good form in the IPL. Kohli leads the run-scorers’ charts with 500 in 10 innings, including one hundred and four half-centuries. Sharma has 311 in nine games at a strike rate of 160.30.

Despite Kohli opening the innings in the IPL, he should bat at number three while left-handed youngster Yashasvi Jaiswal opens with Sharma.

The world No. 1-ranked T20 batter, Suryakumar Yadav, will be at number four.

Nine of the 15-man squad were at the 2022 T20 World Cup, where India lost in the semifinals to eventual champion England.

India begins the World Cup on June 5 against Ireland. It will also play Pakistan and tournament host the U.S.; all three games will be at the purpose-built Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Long Island. India will meet Canada in Florida.

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.

Source: AP News

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