Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

I am in Champions Trophy squad because of IPL, says Shikhar Dhawan

The eight-team tournament will be played between June 1-18, with defending champions India pooled with South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Group B. Kohli's team is scheduled to open its campaign on June 4 at Edgbaston against Pakistan, followed by matches with Sri Lanka on June 8 and South Africa on June 11, both at Kennington Oval.

Meanwhile, after missing the April 25 deadline, the Indian board finally announced the squad ending speculations of pulling out of the tournament.

Commenting on the chances of India retaining the Champions Trophy, the pacer said, "100 percent India can win the Champions Trophy". They defeated England in the 2013 edition.

"I was obviously happy to see my name in the India squad for the Champions Trophy but more than that I felt it was a reward for my performances in the shorter formats and in the ongoing IPL", Dhawan said.

The BCCI's use of the Champions Trophy as a bargaining chip was strongly criticised and Indian cricketing greats including Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid urged the country to compete. "We will try to bring home the Champions Trophy", he said.

Some of the other names that were discussed were Delhi's explosive young keeper-batsmen Rishab Pant, stumper Dinesh Karthik, Mumbai seamer Shardul Thakur and veteran Suresh Raina.

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"He is one player who we are looking at for the future". He would have been a surprise package but whether we would have played with two spinners is a question.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has skipped the IPL owing to a sports hernia injury, has been included.

Pandey has made it as an extra batsman in the squad to be led by Virat Kohli. Explaining the decision, Prasad said Ashwin's injury was not that serious and he merely required some rest.

The selectors considered left-arm unorthodox bowler Kuldeep Yadav before deciding a spin attack comprising Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, aided by part-timer Yuvraj Singh, should be sufficient. "He represented India in the last worldwide game".

"According to me, he's still the best wicket-keeper in the world", said Prasad, a former India stumper.

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