India returned veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to the ODI team for the three-match series against Australia, which will take place immediately before the start of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup next month. Ashwin, who has not played an ODI since January 2022, joins the squad as the third spinner, behind Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja.
Notably, the off-spinner was not named to India’s initial 15-man World Cup team and did not compete in the Asia Cup either. Before being suspended again, the two ODIs against South Africa in 2022 were his first in the fifty-overs format for India in five years (since 2017).
Due to the absences of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, KL Rahul will captain the side in the first two games. The duo returns for the last ODI, with Rohit assuming captaincy once more.
Both squads retain Washington Sundar, who flew to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup final. Axar Patel, who was injured prior to the final, is recovering and will play in the third ODI, barring fitness.
During the post-Asia Cup press conference, Rohit Sharma said that he was in contact with Ashwin.
“As a spinner-all-rounder, Ashwin is in line; I’ve been talking to him on the phone,” Rohit remarked on Sunday. Despite the paucity of recent ODIs, Ajit Agarkar stated that Ashwin’s expertise provided him the edge.
“Axar has been injured, Washington has already joined the squad for the Asia Cup, and Ravichandran Ashwin brings a lot of experience,” Agarkar remarked during a news conference.
“Both Ashwin and Washington are backups. Axar should be fine with time. If the necessity arises, we will respond.”