BCCI reveals Indian squad for Champions Trophy

While no major changes have been made in the squad which enjoyed a successful 2016-17 home season, the selectors have chose to back the experienced Ajinkya Rahane over youngster Rishabh Pant. Finally, after two years, Shami is once again back in the frame in the 50-over format, being picked for the Champions Trophy, which is to be held in England next month.

New Zealand will play hosts England in Group A, as well as Australia and Bangladesh.

Shami, who last played an ODI during the 2015 World Cup, said he has worked on his strength and fitness. To open the batting in the absence of KL Rahul, out with a shoulder injury, India will bank on the tried and tested Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan combination.

India, who beat England in the 2013 final, take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening game on June 4.

Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Rishab Pant spinner Kldeep Yadav and fast bowlers Shardul Thakur have been kept as standby.

However, in a short statement attributed to BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary, those fears were allayed - and India will therefore defend the title they won four years ago, also in England.

The tournament begins in Britain on June 1. "Since Yuvraj (Singh) and Kedar (Jadhav) can bowl spin, he narrowly missed out", Prasad added.

Mohammed Shami is the most skilled among India's talented pace pack.

Veteran opener Gautam Gambhir, who has been performing well in the IPL, was not even discussed. Indian cricketing greats including Sachin Tendulkar urged the side to compete in the prestigious event. It's a settled unit with as many as 14 of the players picking themselves.

The squad is as follows: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah & Manish Pandey.

Explaining the reason behind Pant and Kuldeep's omission, Prasad said: "We are completely impressed with Rishabh Pant". These five players will train at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and the BCCI will proceed with their visa applications to the United Kingdom in case quick replacements are needed later.

  • Julie Sanders