With the 37-year-old back in the 50-over-format for the Australia series, Ashwin, despite being left out of the provisional India World Cup squad is now back in reckoning for the marquee tournament. .
As Axar Patel sustained a quadriceps tear during the Asia Cup clash against Bangladesh, all-rounder Washington Sundar replaced him and featured in the final against Sri Lanka on Sunday. But for the upcoming ODI series against Australia, the selection committee decided to include both Sundar and Ashwin in the 15-member squad.
Explaining Ashwin’s inclusion, chief selector Ajit Agarkar on Monday said both Ashwin and Washington are in contention for the replacement slot if Axar doesn’t recover in time.
“There are a couple of guys anyways, Ashwin and Washington. Look basically, what is being made known to us about Axar’s injury is that he should be okay and we will make it once we know that but it leaves us with the option to check these guys if they need to go that way. If the need arises, we will look at it that way but I don’t think there is any need to speculate right now because we are hoping that Axar is fit,” Agarkar told the media during a virtual session.
Ashwin, who was sidelined from the India ODI set up following the Champions 2017 Trophy, made a recall to the side in January last year for the ODI series in South Africa. He made his comeback after four and a half years only to be sidelined again.
In the press conference, Agarkar also mentioned Ashwin and Sundar as stand-by players for the final game against Australia.
Earlier, on Sunday, skipper Rohit Sharma had said that Ashwin’s lack of game-time in the ODI format is not a concern as he has been a consistent player for India in Tests over the years. “It’s all in the head for players like him,” said Rohit.
“As a spinner all-rounder, Ashwin is in line. I have been talking to him on the phone,” skipper Rohit 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