Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made a surprise comeback as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday announced the squad for the 3-match ODI series against Australia at home.
Captain Rohit Sharma, vice-captain Hardik Pandya, and Virat Kohli have been given rest for the first two ODI matches.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion suggests that he might have a chance to make it to the World Cup squad, possibly as a backup for the injured Axar Patel. The renowned offie, whose appearances in white-ball cricket for India have been infrequent lately, is part of the 15-member squad for the first two matches and serves as one of the two reserves for the third game in the preparatory series.
India is scheduled to face Australia in Mohali (September 22), Indore (September 24), and Rajkot (September 27).
The question remains whether Ashwin, a red ball legend, but often considered surplus in ODIs and T20Is, will secure a spot in the World Cup squad at the last minute or not. Nonetheless, this selection indicates that the team management is carefully evaluating their choices and remains open to rethinking their decisions if necessary.
Key senior players like captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, and Kuldeep Yadav will rest for the first two matches, with the provisional World Cup XI coming together for the third game in Rajkot. KL Rahul will lead the side in the initial two matches.
While Ashwin is not yet officially part of India’s World Cup squad, changes can be made until September 28, after which any alterations will require approval from the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Indian Team for the First Two ODIs against Australia:
KL Rahul (Captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar.
Indian Team for the Third ODI against Australia (17 Members):
Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel (subject to fitness assessment), Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar.