New Delhi: India have predictably named veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as a replacement for injured spin bowling all-rounder Axar Patel in their 15-member squad for the upcoming ODI World Cup, ICC announced Thursday. Axar had sustained a quadriceps tear and is not expected to recover anytime soon. The situation prompted the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee to name the 37-year-old Ravichandran Ashwin, who took four wickets in the two ODIs in the recently concluded series against Australia, in the squad.
“Axar Patel has failed to recover in time for the World Cup after sustaining a left quadriceps strain during India’s Asia Cup Super Four encounter against Bangladesh. The spin-bowling all-rounder missed the final of the Asia Cup as a result,” ICC stated in a media release.
“Veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been named his replacement. He was impressive on his return to ODI cricket in the recently-concluded series against Australia where he picked up four wickets in two games,” the release further stated.
The writing was there on the wall when Axar failed to recover on time for the third ODI against Australia in Rajkot. Ashwin travelled with the Indian team to Guwahati where they will play the first warm-up game against England Saturday.
Experts had earlier been critical about India keeping three left-arm spinners in the squad in Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel. They had been pointing out to the lack of variety in the Indian spin attack. Now with the inclusion of the experienced Ashwin in the Indian team, there will be variety and depth in the Indian spin attack. He will certainly come in handy against teams that have a number of left-handers.
India World Cup squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav.