India’s final 15 for the 2023 World Cup got a slight change as R Ashwin replaces Axar Patel. Offspinner R Ashwin is expected to replace left-arm spinner Axar Patel in the squad. Axar Patel had to leave the Asia Cup due to a quadriceps strain, and his recovery is expected to take at least three more weeks.
Today marks the deadline for teams to make changes to their World Cup squads without any questions asked, in accordance with the ICC’s regulations. Starting from tomorrow, any further changes will require the consent of the World Cup’s technical committee.
The inclusion of R Ashwin in India’s 2023 World Cup squad comes as a surprise, marking a quick turn of events. He was not initially part of the 15-man squad announced by the BCCI in late August. At that time, India’s chief selector Ajit Agarkar mentioned that while Ashwin was a contender, the selectors and team management had chosen Axar Patel, considering his batting depth. When Axar got injured during the Asia Cup and returned to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, the BCCI brought in Washington Sundar as his replacement.
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Both Washington Sundar and Ashwin were included in the three-match ODI series against Australia that followed, which India won 2-1. This series marked Ashwin’s return to India’s ODI team after an 18-month absence. Ashwin played the first two ODIs against Australia, taking 1 for 47 and 3 for 41, before being rested for the third ODI in Rajkot, where Washington Sundar replaced him.
Rahul Dravid, India’s head coach, had stated on Wednesday, after the third ODI, that there would be “no changes” to the World Cup squad. However, following the latest update on Axar Patel’s injury, Ashwin is now expected to join the squad, while Washington Sundar is likely to head to China to join India’s squad for the Asian Games.
Ashwin, with his wealth of experience, will be the only specialist offspinner in India’s World Cup squad. He has played 115 ODIs, taking 155 wickets with an economy rate of 4.94. Ashwin made his ODI debut a year before India’s 2011 World Cup victory and was a part of that successful campaign. He also played in the 2015 World Cup in Australia, where he took 13 wickets in eight matches. However, he was not included in India’s 2019 World Cup squad in England.
Team India Squad:
Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (WK), Ishan Kishan (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (VC), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah