India’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021 threw up many surprises – from MS Dhoni’s comeback in the Team India dressing room to Ravichandran Ashwin’s return in the squad – the list goes on. As much as the return of the former and current stars are celebrated, the debate has already started around the absence of some notable white-ball regulars – Shikhar Dhawan, Yuzvendra Chahal or Deepak Chahar from the 15-member squad. Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra is particularly “shocked” at Chahal’s omission from India’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Chopra called the Royal Challengers Bangalore bowler (Chahal) the second-best T20 leg-spinner in the world after Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.

The former India opener also questioned the selection of five spinners in the India squad. The T20 World Cup 2021 will be held in UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14. “Yuzi Chahal has been India’s best T20 spinner for the last few years. And he’s the second-best T20 spinner in the world after Rashid Khan. India picks 5 spinners and he isn’t one of them. Let that sink in. #IndianCricketTeam,” the 43-year-old Chopra tweeted from his official Twitter handle.

However, despite Chopra’s tall claims about Chahal – the numbers don’t really favour the 31-year-old leggie who has not been in great form since 2019. Chahal picked up 21 wickets in IPL 2020 in UAE at an economy of 7.08.

In IPL 2021, he has only 4 wickets from 7 matches at an economy of 8.26. Since the start of 2019, Chahal has picked up only 19 wickets from 22 T20Is at an economy close to 9.

Moreover, Rahul Chahar has helped the Mumbai Indians to two IPL titles and done well with his limited opportunities in international cricket.

The former Delhi batsman Chopra also expressed surprise over the exclusion of pacer Deepak Chahar, who holds the record for the best bowling figures (3.2-0-7-6) in T20I cricket.

The 29-year-old Chahar has been in phenomenal form in international cricket and played a crucial role for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League. He has picked 122 wickets in 104 T20s at a good strike rate of 18.20 and an economy of close to 7.

“We don’t know Hardik Pandya’s bowling prowess and will have to see it during the IPL. They have no backup for Hardik and there are only three specialist pacers in the squad. There are two major exclusions. Yuzvendra Chahal missing out is shocking and Deepak Chahar’s exclusion is surprising too, as he also gives you wickets with the new ball,” Chopra told ESPNCricinfo.

Chopra also feels that Chahar should’ve been considered over Mohammed Shami as the latter doesn’t have a good T20I record to his name. “Mohammed Shami, as a good a bowler he is, doesn’t have impressive numbers in T20s. Between the two, I would have gone for Deepak Chahar.”