New Delhi, Oct 13: Fast bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur on Wednesday replaced Axar Patel in India's squad for the T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17.

The 29-year-old Thakur has impressed with his 18 wickets in the ongoing IPL for Chennai Super Kings. With this, India completed the announcement of its final squad for the marquee tournament. Teams are allowed time till October 15 to finalise changes.

"The All-India Senior Selection Committee after a discussion with the team management has added Shardul Thakur to the main squad. All-rounder Axar Patel, who was part of the 15-member squad will now be on the list of stand-by players," BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.

With pace all-rounder Hardik Pandya not bowling during the IPL because of fitness issues, the selectors wanted a cover for him. The Mumbai Indians star's workload management is a major concern for the team management.

"The selectors felt that they were one pacer short and also with Hardik Pandya not bowling, they needed an all-rounder in the main squad," a source close to the selection committee told PTI.

"Axar remains in stand by and if Ravindra Jadeja gets injured, he will again be back in main team. Till Jaddu (Jadeja) plays, Axar won't be required."

As reported by PTI, the selectors also included Harshal Patel among the net bowlers for the Indian team.

"The following cricketers will join the team bubble in Dubai and assist Team India in their preparations: Avesh Khan, Umran Malik, Harshal Patel, Lukman Meriwala, Venkatesh Iyer, Karn Sharma, Shahbaz Ahmed and K. Gowtham," the statement said.

Among the stand-by players, Railways leg-spinner Karn Sharma, who is part of the CSK right now, was a surprise inclusion.

Considered a close confidante of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been roped in as mentor of the national side for the World Cup, Sharma is retained year after year by CSK without playing too many matches as it is believed that he has been the franchise's "Lucky Mascot"

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal could not find a place despite an impressive IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore. He claimed 18 wickets in 15 matches.

India will open their campaign on October 24 against Pakistan.

India's 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.

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Hong Kong, Oct 25: Amnesty International said Monday it would close its two offices in Hong Kong this year, becoming the latest non-governmental organization to cease its operations amid a crackdown on political dissent in the city.

The human rights group said its local office in Hong Kong would close this month while its regional office will close by the end of the year, with regional operations moved to other offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong's national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government, Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty's board, said in a statement.

Hong Kong implemented a sweeping national security law in 2020 following months of massive anti-government protests. The law outlaws secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign collusion to intervene in the city's affairs. More than 120 people, many of them supporters of the city's democracy movement, have been arrested under the law.

The majority of the city's prominent pro-democracy activists are behind bars for taking part in unauthorized assemblies, and dozens of political organizations and trade unions have ceased operations out of concern for their members' personal safety under the security law.

Bais said the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signaled authorities were intensifying their campaign to rid the city of dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment, she said.

Critics in Hong Kong say the national security law is an erosion of freedoms, such as those of expression and assembly, that were promised the city for 50 years when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.