BCCI’s Decision on Iyer Dropped. Aakash Chopra asked a few valid questions to the Indian selectors after they announced the T20I squad for the Afghanistan series.

Blame it on workload management, injury to key players, focus on a particular format for the immediate bigger goal, or plain lack of logic but inconsistency in selection has been one of the consistent features of Indian cricket in the last couple of years. In most cases, it is due to workload management or injury concerns but there are times when one is left scratching his head. Take India’s squad for the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan starting January 11.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli’s return to the shortest format for the first time since the semi-final loss against England in T20 World Cup 2022 grabbed all the headlines for obvious reasons but there were a few notable exclusions that need to be discussed. Former India opener Aakash Chopra highlighted a few of them.

The most notable one is the curious case of Shreyas Iyer. The right-hander was not in the T20I scheme of things for the entire 2023 but was included in the squad for the last two matches in the home series against Australia in December and that too as vice-captain. His 53 in the final T20I in Bengaluru should have been enough to guarantee him a spot in the XI. But it wasn’t. Iyer was picked for a three-match T20I series against South Africa but didn’t get a game.

BCCI's Decision on Iyer Dropped
BCCI’s Decision on Iyer Dropped

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Iyer’s Omission Raises Concerns, Afg Series (BCCI’s Decision on Iyer Dropped):

Come to the Afghanistan series, Iyer now finds himself out of the squad. “Iyer was nominated as the Vice-Captain for the 5-match T20i series vs Australia. Was a part of the squad against SA too. Now, finds no place in the team vs Afghanistan,” Chopra wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Iyer’s problems against pace and bounce in red-ball cricket are quite evident but that surely can’t be the criteria to leave out of T20Is. One obvious reason for including Iyer is the return of Rohit and Kohli. If they occupy two spots in the top three, then there isn’t much space for Iyer but shouldn’t the selectors have thought about this before recalling Iyer for the home series against Australia and that too as vice-captain?

This juggling with leadership duties has been another concern for Team India of late. Too many captains, and vice-captaincy being offered to even junior cricketers has not helped Indian cricket. One of the major reasons for the return of Rohit in T20Is is reportedly the lack of a leader. Hardik Pandya was India’s unofficial T20I since the last edition of the T20 World Cup but his fragile body and injury-prone nature have brought India back to square one.

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Inquiries Arise Over Player Selection

Iyer’s was not the only curious case. Shivam Dube was brought back into the T20I squad for the Afghanistan series. The seam-bowling all-rounder, who was a part of the home series against Australia and considered one of the options when Hardik was not available, was strangely not considered for any of the white-ball sides in the South Africa tour

“Dube was in the squad vs Aus at home. Wasn’t picked for SA. Back in the team vs AFG. Also, where is Ishan Kishen? Any news on his availability?” Chopra asked. Kishan, however, is reported on a break due to “mental fatigue”. He was also released from the Test squad of the South Africa series due to the same reasons.

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