A day after Indian cricket team’s Asia Cup triumph, the squad for the Australia ODI series was announced on Monday. There were several surprises in the squad for the three-ODI series. The biggest one being the return of Ravichandran Ashwin, who last played an ODI in January, 2022. Another surprise was that the team management rested the star trio – Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya – for a series that is being seen as the final dress rehearsal before the World Cup.
The trio, along with Kuldeep Yadav, has been for the first two ODIs, while they will make a comeback in the third ODI. BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar, who announced the squad, was asked by a journalist about the reason behind resting the stars ahead of ‘Bharat Darshan’ at the World Cup. The reference of ‘Bharat Darshan’ was given because India will be the most-travelled team in the ODI Cricket World Cup as it will be playing all it group stage matches in different cities.
Agarkar gave a deft reply to the query. “Rohit (Sharma) and Virat (Kohli) have been around forever and obviously Hardik is an important player for us, we want to manage him,” he said.
“Kuldeep is in great form. It also gives us a chance to look at some of the other guys. That’s the thing. Luckily, we got a fair amount of cricket in the Asia Cup.
“If not we might have looked at it some other way. At some stage or the other, more than physical, guys sometimes need a mental break which is not such a bad thing, leading up the tournament (Cricket World Cup).
“But comes the third game, everyone will be available to play. We will play our World Cup squad. It does give us a chance to play some other guys who have been sitting outside and it has been a strong squad,” said BCCI Chief selector Ajit Agarkar.
Squad for the first two ODIs: KL Rahul (captain), 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.
Squad for third ODI: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel (subject to fitness), Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohammed Siraj.