T20 World Cup 2021: Irfan Pathan welcomes Shardul’s inclusion but sympathizes with Akshar

Shardul Thakur replaced Akshar Patel in India's T20 World Cup squad | BCCI/IPL

Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan has on Wednesday (October 13) welcomed Shardul Thakur’s inclusion in India’s squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 but feels sorry for Akshar Patel after the spinning all-rounder was dropped from the 15-member squad.

Pathan said he always felt that the Indian team was one fast bowler short in the T20 World Cup 2021 squad and Thakur’s inclusion adds balance to the side for the upcoming global event.

But, the former pacer wondered whether Patel deserved to be dropped from India’s main 15-member squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021, starting on October 17 in Dubai, UAE.

Akshar was part of India’s T20 World Cup squad while Shardul was named as a reserve player, but on Wednesday, they switched the places with the pacer included to strengthen the pace-bowling attack and have an extra all-rounder amid doubts over Hardik Pandya’s ability to bowl in the tournament.

However, many including Pathan didn’t think that Shardul would come in at the expense of Patel, as the spinner was in splendid form in IPL 2021, taking 15 wickets with his economy rate being just 6.5.

Pathan wrote on Twitter, “Always felt India was one fast bowler short in the announced World Cup squad. Good for Shardul and probably good for the balance of the team; But Axar must be wondering what he did wrong…getting selected in the first place as well as two back-to-back MOM in the IPL.”

Noteworthy, India had earlier only 3 frontline pacers in the squad with Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Mohammad Shami. But now Shardul’s inclusion boosts the pace battery for the T20 World Cup 2021, where Team India will kickstart its campaign against Pakistan on October 24.