India have named two separate squads for the ODI series at home against Australia before the commencement of the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup.
India have recalled veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to the ODI squad for the three-match series against Australia right before the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup that begins early next month. 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 initial 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 (since 2017) 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 participate in 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. Ajit Agarkar confirmed that it was Ashwin's experience that gave him the edge despite the lack of recent ODIs.
"Axar got injured, Washington already joined the squad for Asia Cup and Ravichandran Ashwin brings a lot of experience," Agarkar said at the press conference.
"Both Ashwin and Washington are backups. Axar should be okay with time. If the need arises we will take a call.”
"Rohit is taking a break. Others are getting a breather. Rohit and Virat have been around forever. Hardik has been there. Kuldeep too. They got a fair amount of cricket in Asia Cup. Guys need a mental break and come the third game our main players will play."
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.
Shreyas Iyer, who missed a part of the Asia Cup with an injury, will play the entire series according to Agarkar.
"Shreyas Iyer didn't pick a stress fracture or else he won't be a part of this squad. He's fit and we're hopeful he will play all games in this series," Agarkar said.
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.
1st ODI: Mohali, Sept 22nd, 13:30 IST
2nd ODI: Indore, Sept 24th, 13:30 IST
3rd ODI: Rajkot, Sept 27th, 13:30 IST
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.