The National Cricketer Selectors on Monday rested skipper Rohit Sharma, senior batter Virat Kohli and key all-rounder Hardik Pandya for the first two ODIs against Australia while bringing in off-spinner R Ashwin into the World Cup framework in case Axar Patel fails to recover from an injury.
Ashwin and fellow spinner Washington Sundar have been included in the squad for the three-match ODI series against Australia.
With it being the last set of matches for the Indian team before the ODI World Cup, Rohit, Virat and Hardik return for the third ODI against Australia. Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar have been included in their place for the first two ODIs with K.L Rahul named captain of the 15-member squad.
The selectors also decided to give more time to the injured spinner Axar Patel, who has been included in the 17-member, retaining Ashwin and Washington Sundar for the third game, selection committee chairman Ajit Agarkar told a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
Agarkar said Rohit, Virat and Hardik have been given a breather. Agarkar said at times the rest is not physical but mental also.
He said that he had been told by the medical staff that Axar should be available for the third match but the spinner's fitness will be assessed before a final call take on his availability.
It appears, the selectors have included the experienced Ashwin with an option of drafting him into the final World Cup squad in case Axar fails to recover in time.
Skipper Rohit Sharma said it would not be a problem for Ashwin to get into ODI mode despite last playing in this format in January 2022. He said the off-spinner has a lot of experience having played 80-odd Tests and 150 ODIs.
India squad for the first two OIDs against Australia:
KL Rahul (cap), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, Mohammad Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar.
India squad for the third ODI against Australia (17 members):
Rohit Sharma (cap), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, Mohammad Shami, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel (subject to fitness assessment), Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar.