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‘Go out there and kick some…’: Ravi Shastri fired up as India announce 15-member World Cup squad, axed Ashwin says…

India revealed the 15-member squad that will play in the 2023 World Cup later this year

BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar on Tuesday announced India’s 15-man squad for the 2023 World Cup later this year. Wicketkeeper-KL Rahul, who was injured and unavailable for selection during the first two matches of the ongoing 2023 Asia Cup, has been included in the squad while Sanju Samson‘s exclusion are among the headline developments.

Apart from Samson, the prominent names to not find a place in the squad are spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin. However, a number of former cricketers have said that this is possibly the strongest squad India could have fielded and former head coach Ravi Shastri emphatically declared his support for the team. “Excellent team picked. Come on Guys get out there and kick some b***. Win. Lose. Part and Parcel. Bottom line. ENJOY. Respect,” said Shastri on his X handle.

Ravichandran Ashwin also wished the team well. “Go well boys! Home World Cup is always special and let’s ( all of us ) back them to bring it home,” he said on his handle. Ashwin may be recognised as one of the greatest spinners of all time but he was never considered a candidate for selection in the run-up to the announcement. He last played an ODI match in January last year. Ashwin has taken 151 wickets in 113 ODIs, having made his debut in November 2011.

Rahul is scheduled to reach Sri Lanka ahead of India’s Super 4 matches, starting on September 9 against Pakistan. Agarkar said the 31-year-old managed to prove his fitness at the NCA on both batting and wicket keeping counts.

The selectors also named Ishan Kishan as the second wicketkeeper-batter, and captain Rohit Sharma did not rule out the possibility of playing both Kishan and Rahul in the 11 if the situation warrants so. The selection of both Rahul and Kishan meant that there was no place for Sanju Samson, who is currently in Sri Lanka as a travelling reserve for the Asia Cup.

Shreyas Iyer, who played against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, occupied one spot in the middle-order, and there was a two-way tie for the remaining position between Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma. However, Suryakumar was preferred over the youngster despite the former not having a good run in the ODIs. The 32-year-old floundered in the three-match ODI series against West Indies recently, but the selectors took into account the Mumbaikar’s ability to explode with the bat.

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