The Indian cricket team management on Monday announced the squad for the three-ODI series against Australia. The contest is being seen as a dress rehearsal ahead of the World Cup. Senior players including skipper Rohit Sharma, senior batter Virat Kohli, all-rounder Hardik Pandya and in-form spinner Kuldeep Yadav were rested from the first two games, giving them a chance to get mentally fresh for the mega event. KL Rahul will lead the side in the first two games against Australia before Rohit returns to lead a full-strength squad in the third and final ODI ahead of the World Cup beginning October 5.
The squad for the third game is effectively the 15 picked for World Cup, along with Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar.
Meanwhile, the Indian cricket team returned from Sri Lanka from Asia Cup early on Monday morning. India captain Rohit Sharma returned home in a Mercedes and even obliged police officers fans for selfies.
After winning Asia Cup 2023 GREATEST CAPTAIN ROHIT SHARMA arrives in Mumbai.
— Immy (@BeingImRo45) September 18, 2023
Ashwin, who last played an ODI back in January 2022 in South Africa, could be a last minute addition to the World Cup side if Axar doesn’t get fit before the September 28 deadline set by the International Cricket Council.
Axar had sustained a quadriceps tear during the recently held Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and missed the final against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Chief selector Ajit Agarkar said both Ashwin and Washington are in contention for the replacement slot if Axar doesn’t recover in time.
“There are couple of guys anyways, him and Washington. Look basically, what is being made known to us about Axar’s injury is that he should be okay and call we will make it once we know that but it leaves us with option to check these guys if they need to go that way,” Agarkar told the media during a virtual session.
“If the need arises, we will look at that way but I don’t think there is any need to speculate right now because we are hoping that Axar is fit,” he added.
When the Ajit Agarkar-led selection panel had picked the 15-man squad for the World Cup at home earlier this month, questions over nonselection of an off-spinner were raised with some of the opposition side’s top order having multiple left-handers.
After the squad announcement on Monday, captain Rohit was asked why Ashwin was not part of the Asia Cup squad if he was in the scheme of things. The India skipper responded by saying that a proven performer like Ashwin can be straightaway drafted into the team if the need arises.
With PTI inputs
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