Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who was impressive on his return to ODI cricket in the recently concluded series against Australia, replaced left-arm spinner Axar Patel in India's final 15-member squad for the ICC Men's ODI World Cup, International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Thursday.
Ashwin was a part of the 2011 and 2015 editions of the World Cup for India. In the tournament Down Under, he scalped 13 wickets in eight matches in India's run into the semi-final.
Previously, Axar was part of the 2015 squad and is now all set to miss out on his second ODI World Cup after sustaining a left quadriceps strain during India’s Asia Cup Super Four encounter against Bangladesh, subsequently missing the final of the continental event.
India have banked on the experience of Ashwin to fill the void left by Axar. Additionally, Ashwin brings in an off-spinning option that was previously missing in India's World Cup squad, which could prove to be crucial in the 46-day-long tournament when pitches begin to deteriorate.
During the three-match home ODI series against Australia, Ashwin picked up four wickets in two games. Axar too was named conditionally in the squad for the final ODI subject to his fitness but missed the game which India lost by 66 runs in Rajkot.
India begin their World Cup campaign on 7 October against Chennai against five-time Champions Australia. Before the tournament, Rohit Sharma's men will play two warm-up fixtures, the first against England on 30 September followed by the Netherlands on 3 October.
India World Cup squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.