India left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh is not in the team that will face Australia in Tuesday’s first T20I tie at his home ground, the PCA Stadium in Mohali. The 23-year-old is at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru to fine-tune skills and work on fitness and strength for 10 days. India pace attack will comprise Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Harshal Patel, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

But the young pacer wasn’t far from discussions in the build-up to the first T20. Arshdeep has been the target of nasty social media comments for dropping a catch in the Asia Cup defeat to Pakistan. His teammates, former players and the media have all criticised the trolling and backed the bowler.

On Sunday, skipper Rohit Sharma praised the Punjab bowler for his spells in the death overs at the Asia Cup. “The way Arshdeep bowled was very impressive. The way he landed yorkers under extreme pressure in his first year of international cricket, it is not easy. He is a very smart guy and keeps things simple. We needed a left-arm seamer and he has done well in IPL and then he came here (into the India team) and has done well.

“We always wanted variety in our attack and we have that now,” Rohit added.

Arshdeep, already named in the squad for the T20 World Cup, will return for the series against South Africa.

His coach Jaswant Rai, a former Himachal Pradesh spinner, backed Arshdeep. “It is wonderful that the captain has good things to say about his bowling. Arshdeep has worked hard on his bowling in the last two years. Catches are dropped; it is part of the game. It is time to think beyond that and I hope he is in top form against South Africa and in the World Cup,” he said.