India has announced its 15-member squad for the upcoming Asian Games T20 cricket competition, with Ruturaj Gaikwad set to lead the side. The team comprises several uncapped players in T20 internationals, including Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, and Jitesh Sharma.
Due to the overlapping schedule of the men’s ODI World Cup, which begins in India on October 5, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has chosen to field a second-string team for the Asian Games, while the women’s squad will feature their full-strength lineup.
Among the selected players, only six members from the T20I squad for the Caribbean and USA tour have been included in the Asian Games squad. Alongside Jaiswal, Varma, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar, and Avesh Khan have also earned their spots in the team.
One notable inclusion is Rinku Singh, the talented Uttar Pradesh batter who made his mark in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Kolkata Knight Riders with his power-hitting and finishing skills. Similarly, Jitesh Sharma, who previously missed out on the T20Is in the Caribbean and USA, has been given another opportunity to showcase his talent.
The Asian Games T20 competition will also provide a platform for all-rounder Washington Sundar and his Sunrisers Hyderabad teammate Rahul Tripathi to reaffirm their T20 prowess. Both players were part of the home T20I series against New Zealand earlier this year but were omitted from the upcoming T20Is against West Indies. Having been actively involved in T20 leagues such as the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) and Maharashtra Premier League (MPL), Sundar and Tripathi will be eager to make an impact.
However, the squad announcement saw the omission of Prithvi Shaw, who has been named in West Zone’s squad for the Deodhar Trophy and will subsequently head to the UK for a county stint with Northamptonshire.
The spin department will be manned by Bengal and Royal Challengers Bangalore left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed, along with Washington Sundar and Ravi Bishnoi. Shivam Dube, the sole seam-bowling all-rounder in the squad, has recovered from a finger injury sustained during fielding duties for Chennai Super Kings in May. Despite not bowling in IPL 2023, Dube’s availability for both the Asian Games and the West Zone squad for the Deodhar Trophy is a positive sign.
Venkatesh Iyer, who made a strong impression in the IPL, missed out on the Asian Games squad but has been listed among the reserve players, alongside the likes of B Sai Sudharsan and R Sai Kishore. Prabhsimran Singh of Punjab has been included as the second wicket-keeper after Jitesh Sharma.
Cricket has been featured twice before in the Asian Games, in 2010 and 2014. However, India did not participate in those events. As with the previous editions, T20 cricket will be the format for the cricket event in Hangzhou. The men’s cricket competition at the Asian Games is scheduled to take place from September 28 to October 8.
This selection presents an excellent opportunity for the young and uncapped players to make their mark on the international stage and display their potential in a prestigious multi-sport event like the Asian Games. With a balanced mix of experience and fresh talent, the Indian squad aims to make a strong impact and bring glory to the nation.
India men’s squad: Ruturaj Gaikwad (capt), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rahul Tripathi, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Shivam Mavi, Shivam Dube, Prabhsimran Singh (wk)
Stand-bys: Yash Thakur, R Sai Kishore, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, B Sai Sudharsan