On the final day for submitting the squad for the ODI World Cup, India made a strategic move by replacing injured all-rounder Axar Patel with the veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, as officially announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday.
Axar Patel had failed to recover in time for the World Cup due to a left quadriceps strain he sustained during India’s Asia Cup Super Four match against Bangladesh. Consequently, he missed not only the Asia Cup final but also India’s three-match ODI series against Australia.
Ravichandran Ashwin, stepping in as his replacement, showcased his skills effectively in the recent series against Australia, picking up four wickets in two games, proving his worth in the 50-over format.
Axar Patel had been conditionally named in the squad for the final ODI, pending his fitness, but he ultimately missed the match in which India suffered a 66-run defeat in Rajkot.
To compensate for Axar’s absence, India is leaning on Ashwin’s experience, as he had previously participated in the 2011 and 2015 World Cup editions for India, offering valuable experience on the grand stage.
Despite Axar’s absence, India boasts a nearly full-strength squad with KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, and Jasprit Bumrah making triumphant comebacks from their long-term injuries. These three stars have played pivotal roles in the lead-up to the tournament. Rahul made a remarkable century against arch-rival Pakistan during the Super Four Asia Cup match, while Iyer also impressed with a century in the second ODI against Australia. Bumrah, the ace pacer, has shown glimpses of regaining his best form, notably with a fiery spell against Pakistan in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup and a clinical death bowling performance against Australia in the final ODI.
India’s World Cup campaign will kick off on October 7 against five-time champions Australia. Prior to the main tournament, Rohit Sharma’s team will play in two warm-up fixtures, facing England on September 30 and the Netherlands on October 3.
Here’s the revised India World Cup squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.