India World Cup Squad : Offspinner R Ashwin replaced left-arm spinner Axar Patel* in India’s 15th World Cup 2023 final. ESPNcricinfo has learned that Axar, who left the Asia Cup with a quadriceps strain, will need at least three more weeks to fully recover.
Today is the deadline for teams to make changes to their World Cup squads under ICC rules – no questions asked. From tomorrow all other changes will need the approval of the World Cup Technical Committee.
This means Ashwin joins Virat Kohli as one of two players in the squad who also featured in India’s 2011 World Cup triumph. Ashwin’s inclusion came as a surprise as things change quickly. He was not included in the 15-member squad announced by the BCCI in late August. At the time, India’s chief selector Ajit Agarkar pointed out that while Ashwin was one of the candidates, the selectors and the team management chose Axar, who they believed offered batting depth. In the Asia Cup, when Axar was injured and sent back to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, BCCI selected Washington Sundar as his replacement.
Both Washington and Ashwin featured in the three-match ODI series against Australia, which India won 2–1. The series was the first time the 37-year-old Ashwin played for India in an ODI in 18 months.
He played the first two of these for Australia, taking 1 for 47 and 3 for 41, before being rested for the third ODI in Rajkot, where he was replaced by Washington.
India coach Rahul Dravid told a press conference after the third ODI on Wednesday that there were “no changes” in the World Cup squad. Dravid said that Agarkar had approached the NCA regarding Axar’s rehabilitation. But after Axar’s latest update, Ashwin is booked and Washington will fly to China on Friday to join the Indian squad for the Asian Games.
Ashwin is the only specialist offspinner in India’s World Cup squad, and brings with him the experience of 115 ODIs (155 wickets, economy rate 4.94). He had made his ODI debut a year before the 2011 World Cup, and was part of India’s successful campaign with four wickets in two games. He also played the 2015 World Cup in Australia, where he took 13 wickets in eight matches. He was not part of India’s 2019 World Cup squad in England.
India captain Rohit Sharma had said on the eve of the third ODI against Australia that all this experience worked in Ashwin’s favour. “Ashwin has class, he has the experience of playing the sport and dealing with the pressure. He just hasn’t played ODIs for [a few] years. But you can’t take away the class and the experience a person has over the years and we saw it in the last couple of games [against Australia], how well he’s played. He’s got a lot of variety.”
India World Cup squad :
Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (seven), Ishan Kishan (seven), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah , Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.