In a major development ahead of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, India has selected two distinct teams for their ODI series at home against Australia. The announcement made waves as veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is set to return to the ODI lineup for the three-match showdown against Australia.
The seasoned spinner, Ashwin, last showcased his ODI skills in January 2022 and has now been slotted as the third spinning option, following Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja.
Interestingly, Ashwin wasn’t initially selected for the 15-member World Cup team and was also absent from the Asia Cup. His two ODI appearances against South Africa in 2022 marked his comeback to the 50-over format for India after a hiatus since 2017, only to face another gap in his participation.
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The leadership dynamics will also witness a shuffle, with KL Rahul taking the captaincy reins for the first two matches. Regulars Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are scheduled for a brief respite but will make a comeback for the series finale, with Rohit reassuming the captain’s role. Washington Sundar, fresh from his stint in the Asia Cup final in Sri Lanka, remains a constant in both teams. Meanwhile, Axar Patel, nursing a recent injury, is on track to recovery and might feature in the last ODI, pending a fitness review.
In the aftermath of the Asia Cup, skipper Rohit Sharma shared some insights about his communication with Ashwin. “In terms of spinner-all-rounders, Ashwin is on the radar. I’ve been in touch with him over the phone,” shared Rohit. Adding to the conversation, Ajit Agarkar emphasized the importance of experience. “While Axar’s injury was a setback, Washington’s inclusion post-Asia Cup and Ashwin’s vast experience are invaluable,” Agarkar noted in the press conference.
He further mentioned, “Both Ashwin and Washington serve as backup options. We’re optimistic about Axar’s recovery. Based on circumstances, further decisions will be made.”