India announced their cricket World Cup Squad with Ashwin replacing Axar Patel, as the left-arm spinner will need three more weeks to recover from injury.
Axar, who left the Asia Cup with a quadriceps strain, will need almost a month to recover his injury fully, so Ashwin is called up as a replacement.
India’s World Cup Squad: Ashwin replaces Axar
According to ESPIN, 29th September is the deadline for teams to change their World Cup squads, per ICC’s regulations. After the deadline, the World Cup’s technical committee will approve first in case of any further changes.
India’s chief selector Ajit Agarkar pointed out that while Ashwin was one of the contenders, the selectors and the team management had opted for Axar, whom they felt provided batting depth.
In the Asia Cup, when Axar got injured and returned to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, the BCCI drafted Washington Sundar as his replacement.
Ashwin will join Virat Kohli as one of only two players in this squad who also featured in India’s 2011 World Cup winning run. He was not part of the 15-man squad announced by the BCCI in late August.
Both Washington and Ashwin were included in the three-match ODI series against Australia that followed, which India won 2-1. That series was the first time Ashwin, 37, had played for India in ODIs in 18 months.
He played the first two of those Australia games, taking 1 for 47 and 3 for 41, before being rested for the third ODI in Rajkot, where Washington replaced him.
Ashwin is a worthy replacement for Axar
The latest update on Axa is not good news for Indian cricket fans. However, Ashwin is a quality replacement. He is the only specialist offspinner in India’s World Cup squad and brings 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 in 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.
On the eve of the third ODI against Australia, India captain Rohit Sharma said that all this experience worked in Ashwin’s favor.
“Ashwin has got the class; he’s got experience of playing the sport and handling the pressure. It’s just that he hasn’t played ODIs [for] a year or so. But you cannot take away the class and the experience that the individual has over the years, and in the last couple of games [against Australia], we saw how well he bowled. He’s got a lot of variations up his sleeves.”
India’s updated World Cup squad
Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (vice-capt), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj