Ravichandran Ashwin handed ODI comeback for Australia series, KL Rahul named captain for first two games

Tags: India, Australia, Ravichandran Ashwin, Australia tour of India 2023

Published on: Sep 20, 2023

Senior Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been handed an ODI comeback for the upcoming three-match home series against Australia, which will be played from September 22 to 27. Ashwin’s comeback was necessitated in the wake of an injury to left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who missed the Asia Cup final and won’t feature in the first two ODIs against Australia. His selection for the third ODI will be subject to fitness.

Meanwhile, skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav have been rested for the first two matches of the series. KL Rahul will lead the side in the first two games. Rohit and the other seniors will return before the final ODI, which will be the last match for India before the World Cup.

Apart from Ashwin, another off-spinner Washington Sundar also finds a place in the ODI squad. Sundar replaced Axar for the Asia Cup final in Colombo. While there are concerns over Axar’s injury chief selector Ajit Agakar remained hopeful of him recovering in time for the World Cup.

He said at a press conference, "What's made known to us with Axar's injury is that he should be okay. So that's a call we'll make once we know that, but at least it leaves us with options if they get games now, and gives the team management options if they need to go that way. If the need arises, we'll look at it at that stage but there's no need to speculate right now or make any decisions right now because Axar, we're hoping that he's fit.”

Speaking of Ashwin, although he has only played a handful of ODIs since 2017, skipper Rohit is confident of the veteran spinner due to the vast experience he possesses. He commented over concerns of lack of game time for the cricketer, "Look with the kind of experience Ashwin has. He has played close to 100 Test matches, and close to 150 ODIs. Yes it's in the past but he has consistently been playing Test cricket. With guys like Ashwin, having time on the ground is not so much of a concern which is why we thought if he's an option for us, we'll have to get him in.”

Meanwhile, batter Shreyas Iyer, who suffered from back spasms in Sri Lanka during the Asia Cup, his comeback series, has also been retained for the Australia ODIs. Agarkar confirmed that Shreyas is fit and hence has been picked.

"We're hopeful he'll get through these games. He's worked incredibly hard to get to this stage and be fit. And fortunately for him it was not a massive injury he picked up but he did pick up a niggle, he'll have to get through these games and we're hopeful that he will because at the moment he's fine," Agarkar said.

India squad for first two ODIs: KL Rahul (captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, R Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, J Bumrah, M Siraj, M Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar

India squad for 3rd ODI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, R Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, J Bumrah, M Siraj, M Shami, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel (subject to fitness), R Ashwin, Washington Sundar

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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