Veteran offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been named in India’s final 15-man squad for the 2023 World Cup. Ashwin, 37, replaces Axar Patel, who had been named in the provisional squad but has not recovered from his left quadriceps strain. He suffered the injury in the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh on September 15. Ashwin has already travelled to Guwahati with the team, where they play England in their first warm-up game on September 30.
Ashwin, who ended up playing two of the three home ODIs against Australia in the meanwhile, took his opportunity to make a return in the format with both hands and picked four wickets across two matches. He picked 3 for 41 in the second ODI in Indore, where his full array of skills were on display. Both David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne, undone by different varieties of Ashwin’s carrom balls, found him difficult to negotiate on what was a very good batting track at the Holkar Stadium.
Ashwin’s inclusion adds an offspinner to India’s squad alongside Ravindra Jadeja’s left-arm orthodox and Kuldeep Yadav’s left-arm wristspin, making it a complete spin attack on paper.
Ahead of the final ODI in Rajkot, Rohit had spoken highly of Ashwin’s ability to deliver in the big moments. “He has got the class and the experience of playing the sport and handling the pressure,” the captain had said. “It is just that he has not played ODIs in the last year or so, but you cannot take away the class and the experience… and in the last couple of games we saw how well he bowled.”
This will be Ashwin’s third ODI World Cup and his second at home. He was a part of India’s victorious campaign in 2011 and went on to play the 2015 edition in Australia too. However, he wasn’t picked for the 2019 edition when India decided to go in with two leg spinners but since then, the team management has found a way to reintegrate finger-spin in their game plans.
Full 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