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IND vs AUS: Comeback in India squad opens World Cup gates for Ashwin

Ashwin has played 113 ODIs and taken 151 wickets in them He last played for India in an ODI in 2022 but has now been named in the Indian squad for the Australia series ahead of World Cup 2023

R Ashwin, Rahul Dravid

R Ashwin and Rahul Dravid during a practice session. Photo: Sportzpics for BCCI

Abhishek Singh New Delhi

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Ravichandran Ashwin made yet another comeback to India's limited-overs scheme of things after he was named in the Indian squad for the ODI series against Australia starting 22 September 2023. This is the off-spinner's second comeback in 20 months, as he last played an ODI for India against South Africa in the Rainbow Nation in January 2022.

Could this comeback lead Ashwin to India's World Cup squad?

The question is pivotal as the 37-year-old was able to get into back-to-back T20 World Cup squads for India without being in consideration in the lead-up to the tournament. This time around as well, Ashwin was not in consideration, but an injury to Axar Patel and India's lack of spinning against attacking left-handers has forced the team to go back to reliable sources of off-spinners who can also bat. Ashwin and Washington Sundar thus come into consideration. Both have been picked in the squad.

Also Read: IND vs AUS: Rohit, Kohli rested for first 2 ODIs; Ashwin, Sundar called up

What did Rohit Sharma say about Ashwin being picked for the World Cup?

Speaking at the post-match presentation after the World Cup, India skipper Rohit Sharma said that he had been in talks with Ashwin over the phone. "With the spin-bowling all-rounders, I think everyone is in the line. Honestly, speaking to [Ravichandran] Ashwin as well, I have been talking to him on the phone," he said.

Ashwin's World Cup in Numbers

Part of the World Cup-winning squad in 2011, Ashwin played in the 2015 World Cup as well for the Men in Blue. While the off-spinner could play only two games in 2011, he played all eight matches in 2015. In total, Ashwin has taken 17 wickets in 10 matches.

Ashwin's Numbers in ODIs and Why He Could Be Favoured?

Holding the ball in Indian winters is going to be hard for pacers and harder for spinners once it gets wet due to dew. In such a situation, Ashwin's ability to bowl with the new ball as well as a wet ball makes the Tamil Nadu man a better choice among all other spinners. He was the hero for the team in a rain-marred Champions Trophy encounter against England in 2013.

The Chennai-born has taken 151 wickets in 113 ODIs at an average of 33 and a strike rate of 40. In his 2022 comeback, which he made after nearly five years of absence from ODI cricket, Ashwin could not impress as he took just one wicket in two games. But at home in favourable conditions, Ashwin could be a different player altogether.

What did Ashwin say about making his comeback?

Ashwin, who celebrated his 37th birthday just a day ahead of being named in the Indian squad for the Australia series, has said over and again that he will be ready to play for the Men in Blue in all conditions and whenever presented a chance to.

"I have been playing for the last 14-15 years for Team India. I have had my great moments. I have had my fair share of failures too. But I have tattooed Indian cricket close to my heart. If they require my service even tomorrow, I will be ready and will give my 100 per cent," Ashwin had said in one of his YouTube shows. Now might be the chance he has been looking for.

India Squad for the first two ODIs vs Australia

KL Rahul (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja (Vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Shami, Mohd Siraj, Prasidh Krishna

India Squad for the third ODI vs Australia

Rohit Sharma (C), Hardik Pandya (Vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel*, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Shami, Mohd Siraj

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First Published: Sep 18 2023 | 10:51 PM IST

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