Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was replaced by right-arm pacer Shardul Thakur in India’s T20 Word Cup squad on Wednesday.

According to a release by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the decision was made by the senior selection committee after a discussion with the team management.

Patel, who was part of the 15-member squad, will now be on the list of stand-by players.

The T20 World Cup starts October 17 in the UAE and Oman. India’s campaign begins with a match against Pakistan in Dubai on October 24.

The 29-year-old Thakur has impressed with his 18 wickets for Chennai Super Kings in the in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League.

According to a report by PTI, the selectors wanted a cover for all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who didn’t bowl at all for Mumbai Indians during their IPL 2021 campaign.

“The selectors felt that they were one pacer short and also with Hardik not bowling, they needed an all-rounder in the main squad,” an official close to the selection committee was quoted as saying by PTI.

“Axar remains in standby list and if Ravindra Jadeja gets injured, he will again be back in the main team.”

Initial report: Ashwin named in 15-member Kohli led squad; Dhoni named mentor

India’s final squad for ICC T20 World Cup: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami.

Stand-by players: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Axar Patel.

Players who will join the bubble in Dubai and assist the team in its preparations: Avesh Khan, Umran Malik, Harshal Patel, Lukman Meriwala, Venkatesh Iyer, Karn Sharma, Shahbaz Ahmed and K Gowtham.

The seventh edition of the tournament comprises 16 teams and is being hosted by India in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

The highly anticipated match between former champions India and Pakistan will take place on 24 October at the Dubai International Stadium, in what will be the first match for both the teams.

India, champions in the inaugural edition played in South Africa in 2007 and finalists in 2014, will also have Afghanistan, New Zealand and two qualifiers from Round 1 to contend with in Group 2 while Group 1 comprises England, Australia, South Africa, the West Indies and two qualifiers from Round 1.

Sri Lanka, champions in 2014, Bangladesh, Ireland, Namibia, Netherlands Oman, PNG and Scotland, feature in Round 1 of the 16-team tournament

While the BCCI is the official host of the tournament, the tournament was moved out of India. The venues for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 are Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground.

Inputs by PTI