India has unveiled the squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series against Australia, marking the return of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to the ODI format after his last appearance in January 2022 against South Africa.
Notably, several seasoned players including Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, and Kuldeep Yadav will rest in the first two ODIs, with wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul taking the helm in Rohit's absence for those matches.
Furthermore, Axar Patel, who suffered a left quadriceps strain during the Asia Cup 2023 final, will also be sidelined for the first two ODIs. The ODI series will commence on September 22 at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. The second match is scheduled for September 24 at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore, followed by the third ODI on September 27 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.
Explaining the decision to rest key members of the World Cup squad just before the tournament, Chief Selector Ajit Agarkar emphasised the necessity for these players to have a mental break in preparation for the major event.
“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 fair amount of cricket in Asia Cup. Guys need a mental break and come the third game our main players will play," said Agar in the press conference.
Additionally, Agarkar also provided updates on the injuries of Axar Patel and Shreyas Iyer.
"Iyer has not picked a stress fracture otherwise he won't be in the team. At the moment he is fit and hopefully will get these three games. He did pick up a niggle but he is fit at the moment. Hopefully, Axar will be fit, Ashwin brings experience both Ashwin and Washington are there as the backup for Axar. Will look at it when it is time there is no need to speculate about it right now," he added.
India's squad for first two ODIs vs Australia:
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
India's Squad for third ODI vs Australia:
Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Axar Patel, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Washington Sundar, R. Ashwin