Srinagar: The doors to make it to World Cup squad have opened for the India veteran Ravi Ashwin, as India announced the squad for Australia ODi series ahead of the showpiece event.
Ashwin, who last played an ODI in January 2022, comes in as the third spinner behind Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja.
Notably, the off-spinner wasn’t a part of the 15-member World Cup squad India announced and did not make it to the Asia Cup either. The two ODIs against South Africa in 2022 were his first in five years in the fifty-overs format for India before he was sidelined again.
KL Rahul will lead the team in the first two games with regular skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli rested. The duo return for the final ODI with Rohit leading the side again.
Washington Sundar, who flew to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup final, is also retained in both squads. Axar Patel, who injured himself ahead of the final, is recovering and will play the third ODI subject to fitness.
Rohit Sharma had revealed in the press conference after the Asia Cup that he was in talks with Ashwin.
“As a spinner-all-rounder, Ashwin is in line, I have been talking to him on the phone,” Rohit said on Sunday.
“The injury happened to Axar at the last minute. Washington was available, so he had to come and perform the role for us. He (Washington) was cricket-fit because he was part of the Asian Games camp (in Bengaluru).”
The series, which begins on September 22, will be the final one either team plays ahead of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Both teams are within sight of the coveted No.1 ranking in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings. A series win will ensure India head into the World Cup as the No.1 ranked team. Meanwhile, Australia, who slipped up after the series loss to South Africa, can regain the top ranking if they beat India 3-0.
India had also announced their 15-member squad for the World Cup and have until 28 September to make changes to the squad, after which any alterations will be subject to approval by the ICC.
Australia also announced their squad for the series with a few key players making a much-awaited return.
India squads for Australia ODIs:
Squad for first two ODIs: KL Rahul (c), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar
Squad for final ODI: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel (subject to fitness), R Ashwin, Washington Sundar