Ashwin Makes ODI Comeback After 20 Months; Is He In The Frame For World Cup?

Mumbai: Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is back in the Indian ODI squad after a gap of 20 months.

The 37-year-old Ashwin, who has bagged 489 wickets in Tests, 151 in ODIs and 72 in T20 Internationals, was on Monday named in the squad for the three-match series against Australia, starting at Mohali on September 22.

Ashwin’s last ODI appearance was in January 2022, in South Africa.

He was not part of the 15-member squad for next month’s World Cup, but could well be considered now following an injury to left-arm spinner Axar Patel in the just-concluded Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.

Axar sustained a quadriceps tear during India’s Super 4 clash against Bangladesh, which forced him to miss Sunday’s final against hosts Sri Lanka.

The team management flew in Washington Sundar and picked him in the playing XI yesterday, though he – and many others — didn’t have a role to play as Mohammed Siraj singlehandedly demolished Sri Lanka.

Skipper Rohit Sharma said at the post-match press conference he wasn’t sure how long Axar would take to recover. The World Cup gets underway on October 5, and the team wants to test out both off-spinning options Ashwin and Sundar in the upcoming series against Australia.

In case Axar doesn’t get fit for the World Cup by the September 28 deadline set by the ICC, either Ashwin or Sundar could replace the former.

For the Australia series, Rohit and Virat Kohli have been rested for the first two games, with KL Rahul named captain.

Rohit, along with Kohli, will return to lead a full-strength side in the third and final ODI against Australia.

India squad for first two ODIs vs Australia: KL Rahul (captain), 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.

Squad for third ODI: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel (subject to fitness), Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohammed Siraj.

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