Karnataka speedster R Vinay Kumar was today rewarded for his consistent performance in domestic cricket while leg-spinner Piyush Chawla staged a surprise comeback into India's 15-member squad for next month's Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.
The 26-year-old Vinay Kumar, who has been impressive in the ongoing IPL, was the only new face in the squad to be led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Barring Vinay's inclusion and the recall of Uttar Pradesh leg-spinner Chawla, there were no major surprises in the squad announced by the BCCI secretary N Srinivasan after a selection panel meeting in Mumbai.
Pacers Ishant Sharma, S Sreesanth and RP Singh, who were in the provisional 30-member list, failed to figure in the squad while spinners Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra also missed the bus.
Delhi batsman Virat Kohli, who was in the ODI squad against South Africa last month, was also left out of the squad for the event to be held in the Caribbean from April 30 to May 16.
"We have selected the best team for the Twenty20 World Cup. We are happy with the performance of every member of the team. They have shown consistency," chairman of selectors Krishnamachari Srikkanth said after picking the squad.
"The Twenty20 World Cup is still one month away and we hope that this team will do well in the event," he said.
Srikkanth also said as of now there is no worry.
"Everyone is hundred per cent fit and all the fitness certificates have been submitted to the Board. All the members are fit and fine," he said.
Ashish Nehra, who has not played a single match in the ongoing IPL because of a rib cage injury, has been included in the squad with the selectors expecting the gangling paceman to be fully fit for the mega event.
Vinay has forced his way into the team on the back of his consistent performance in domestic cricket, claiming 46 wickets in the Ranji Trophy. He has so far captured 202 wickets in 54 first class matches with eight for 32 his best figures.
The diminutive Chawla pipped Ojha and Mishra for the second spinner's berth in the squad which has Harbhajan Singh as the spin spearhead.
Chawla returns to the Indian team after a gap of nearly two years, the 2008 Asia Cup in Pakistan being his last appearance.
Chawla, who plays for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, has done a decent job with the ball so far, which prompted the selectors to include him in the squad.
Gambhir, who is also carrying an injury, has been included in the squad and will partner his Delhi team-mate and vice-captain Virender Sehwag at the top of the order.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik has also been named in the squad with the selectors preferring to have a cover for captain Dhoni who has just recovered from an injury.
In the run-up to the selection meeting, several former cricketers wanted Sachin Tendulkar, who has been in red hot form, to be part of the Twenty20 squad, but the champion batsman had made it clear that he had no intentions of playing the shortest format of the game for the country.
The squad has five specialist batsmen in vice-captain Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma, two all-rounders in Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja.
Jadeja had been banned from this year's IPL and the all-rounder has appealed against the decision. A verdict on the appeal is expected soon.
Besides Vinay Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar were the pacers in the squad.
Zaheer and Harbhajan were making a return after missing India's last Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka in December last.
Others who were dropped from the 30-member provisional list announced earlier for the April 30-May 16 mega-event were Sudeep Tyagi, Abhishek Nayar, Wriddhiman Saha, Naman Ojha, Abhimanyu Mithun, Manish Pandey, Munaf Patel, Murali Vijay and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag (v-c), Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Vinay Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla, Dinesh Karthik.