Ravichandran Ashwin, veteran spinner and India’s highest Test wicket-taker among active cricketers, is set to play his first ODI since January, 2022. The off-spinner received a surprise call-up for the three-match ODI series against Australia, starting on Friday. The series is the final dress rehearsal for hosts India before the 2023 Cricket World Cup, starting on October 5. Ashwin is not part of the World Cup squad, but his selection has raised speculation.
BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar, who announced the squad for the Asutralia series on Monday, explained that Ashwin has been called up after an injury suffered by left-arm spinner Axar Patel, part of the ODI world Cup squad. Axar had missed the Asia Cup final due to the quadriceps injury.
When asked if Ravichandran Ashwin will be replacing Axar Patel if the latter is not fit for World Cup, Ajit Agarkar said: “There are couple of guys anyway, both him (Ashwin) and Washington (Sundar).
“What we know with Axar’s (Patel) injury that he should be okay. All will make it once we know that. But at least it leaves us with options. If these guys get a couple of games now, (it) gives the team management a few options if they need to go that way.
“If the need arises, we will probably have a look at it at that stage. But I don’t think there is the need to speculate right now or make any decisions right now because we are hoping that Axar is fit.”
The selectors have rested in-form Kuldeep Yadav for the first two ODIs.
Asked if that was done to keep an element of surprise in the World Cup, Rohit said, “Kuldeep is a wrist spinner and needs rhythm but we also deliberated that his bowling form is great and as Ajit (chief selector) said we needed to give some of the players chance as they played only one match in Asia Cup and are there in WC squad and we needed to check them as well.
“Kuldeep, we have seen for last 18 months and we didn’t want to expose him. He will be playing in the last match and the best decision to see him is in 3rd match. We have two practice games and he will be back in bowling rhythm,” said the skipper.
Squad for the first two ODIs: KL Rahul (captain), Ravindra Jadeja (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna.
Squad for third ODI: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel (subject to fitness), Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohammed Siraj.
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