Cricket-Pant included in India's T20 World Cup squad, Rahul misses out

Asian Cup - India v Sri Lanka

(Reuters) - India have included wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant in their 15-man squad for the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies and United States in June, the country's cricket board (BCCI) announced on Tuesday.

Pant was involved in a near-fatal crash in December 2022 that required him to have multiple surgeries and he missed last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) as well as India's 50-overs World Cup campaign on home soil.

The 26-year-old has slowly returned to his best after his comeback in this year's IPL, scoring three fifties and racking up 398 runs in 11 matches to convince selectors.

The Delhi Capitals skipper was not the only player rewarded for his IPL heroics, as Chennai Super Kings batsman Shivam Dube also made the squad after scoring 350 runs in nine matches.

Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed and Avesh Khan were named in the reserves, but there was no place for wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul.

Sanju Samson got the nod instead and will back up Pant.

India will be led by Rohit Sharma as they bid for a second title in the June 1-29 tournament following their triumph in the inaugural edition in 2007.

Hardik Pandya, who has struggled to hit top form in the IPL after returning from an ankle issue sustained during last year's 50-overs World Cup, will be Rohit's deputy in a strong line-up that also includes Virat Kohli and youngster Yashasvi Jaiswal.

Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh will bolster the pace bowling department spearheaded by Jasprit Bumrah while Yuzvendra Chahal is part of a four-pronged spin attack alongside Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel.

India made the semi-finals two years ago in Australia, losing to eventual champions England.

They begin their campaign against Ireland in Group A, with the match to be played in New York on June 5, before they battle arch-rivals Pakistan in one of the event's highly-anticipated matches four days later.

India squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)