Chief selector Ajit Agarkar explains R Ashwin's inclusion for Australia ODIs
NEW DELHI: Ravichandran Ashwin's return to the ODI team for the first time since January 2022 was a surprise. He was in the team for the first two ODIs against Australia at home.
With the 37-year-old back in the 50-over format for the Australia series, Ashwin is back in the running for the big event, even though he was left off the provisional India World Cup team.
Axar Patel tore his thigh muscle during the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh. All-rounder Washington Sundar took his place and played in Sunday's final against Sri Lanka. But for the upcoming ODI series against Australia, Sundar and Ashwin were both chosen to be part of the 15-person team.
Ajit Agarkar, the chief selection, said Monday that both Ashwin and Washington could replace Axar if he doesn't get better in time. This is why Ashwin was chosen.
"Anyway, there are two guys, Ashwin and Washington. Look, all we know about Axar's injury is that he should be fine, and once we know that, we'll be fine. This gives us the choice, though, to check on these guys if they need to go that way.
If that becomes necessary, we will look at it that way, but I don't think it's necessary to guess right now because we hope Axar is healthy," Agarkar told the media in a virtual session.
Ashwin was taken out of the India ODI team after the Champions Trophy in 2017. He was brought back for the ODI series in South Africa in January 2018. He came back after four and a half years, but he was put on the bench again.
Agarkar also said in the news conference that Ashwin and Sundar would be on standby for the last game against Australia.
Earlier on Sunday, India's captain Rohit Sharma said that Ashwin's lack of ODI experience is not a problem because he has been a reliable player for India in Tests for many years. "It's all in the head for players like him," Rohit said.
"As a spinner who can do everything, Ashwin is on the mark. "I've been talking to him on the phone," Rohit, who is the captain, said.
The first ODI will be played in Mohali on September 22, second in Indore on September 24 and third in Rajkot on September 27.
India Squad for first two ODIs: KL Rahul (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja (Vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna
India Squad for 3rd & final ODI: Rohit Sharma (C), Hardik Pandya, (Vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel*, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj
Australia Squad - Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa