The BCCI finally announced Team India’s squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series against Australia on Monday, September 18, a day after the Men in Blue’s Asia Cup triumph. While it seemed like the squad would be similar to that of the one that is playing in the World Cup two weeks from now, it wasn’t to be as the selectors and the team management took practical calls keeping the workload of senior players and a couple of very key members of the side.
The selection committee picked two squads resting skipper Rohit Sharma among four players in the first two ODIs with KL Rahul leading the side while the whole World Cup squad plays the series finale. The series that starts on Friday, September 22 in Mohali will be an ideal final preparation for both India and Australia facing tough opponents in conditions they will encounter in the World Cup.
Here’s how different India’s squad looks for the first two games, from the one that played in the Asia Cup 2023-
The biggest inclusion in the squad was of the veteran off-spinner R Ashwin. Ashwin, who last played in January 2022 in ODIs for India, is making a return for the first time white-ball cricket for the first time since last year’s T20 World Cup. The injury of Axar Patel has forced the selectors and the management to think on their feet and call up both Ashwin and Sundar. Sundar stays in the squad after being included in the side for the Asia Cup final.
The other inclusion apart from the two offies was the opening batter Ruturaj Gaikwad, who will lead a second-string Indian team in the Asian Games.
The quartet of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav, is probably a group of players, which is really key for India’s World Cup chances and probably the one that has been playing relentlessly for the last few months. Apart from these four, the only other absentee for the first two ODIs is Axar Patel, on whose fitness the team management is currently sweating.
Team India squad (for first two ODIs): KL Rahul (w/c), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja (vc), Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar
Team India squad (for third ODI): Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya (VC), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel (*subject to fitness) Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar