IND v AUS 2023: “Look with the kind of experience he has”- Rohit Sharma on why R Ashwin was included in India squad

BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar gave updates on fitness of Akshar Patel and Shreyas Iyer.

R Ashwin | GettyIndia captain Rohit Sharma spoke in detail about the surprise decision to include veteran spinner R Ashwin in the squad for the upcoming three ODIs against Australia and said that the off-spinner was kept in the loop while making the decision.

The BCCI announced two squads for the Australia ODIs which will be played on September 22, 24, and 27 in Mohali, Indore, and Rajkot. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, and Kuldeep Yadav were rested for the first two ODIs with KL Rahul leading the Indian team.

Washington Sundar, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Tilak Varma have also been included in the squad for the first two ODIs. But the big guns return for the third and final ODI which will be the final bilateral assignment for India before the World Cup starts.

Ashwin last featured in an ODI in 2022, and has been away from the 50-over setup for a while having featured in just two games over the last six years. Rohit Sharma, however, mentioned that Ashwin was in contact with him and things were discussed with him.

IND v AUS 2023: Fans share mixed feelings as R Ashwin included in India squad for Australia ODIs

"Look with the kind of experience Ashwin has. He has played close to 100 Test matches, and close to 150 ODIs. Yes, it's in the past but he has consistently been playing Test cricket. With guys like Ashwin, having time on the ground is not so much of a concern which is why we thought if he's an option for us, we'll have to get him in. But you know with the kind of experience he has, it's just all in the head for guys like him more than the body.

We decided to get him in, speaking to him and understanding where he's at with his body. So it's not like he's not playing cricket for the last year or so. He's played Test cricket recently in the West Indies, and if I'm not wrong played some TNPL games as well. Although there's no comparison there....but some cricket there. So the games against Australia will give us a chance to look at where he's at, how he's bowling and how his body is feeling and things like that," Rohit Sharma said in a press conference.

Ajit Agarkar gave update on Shreyas Iyer and Akshar Patel's fitness | GettyThe decision to have two off-spinning allrounders in Ashwin and Washington Sundar comes in the wake of Akshar Patel's injury, although the chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar remained hopeful of Akshar's return.

IND v AUS 2023: BCCI announces India’s squad for Australia ODIs; R Ashwin included

"What's made known to us with Akshar's injury is that he should be okay. So that's a call we'll make once we know that, but at least it leaves us with options if they get games now, and gives the team management options if they need to go that way. If the need arises, we'll look at it at that stage but there's no need to speculate right now or make any decisions right now because Akshar, we're hoping that he's fit," said Agarkar in a press conference.

Another player who was in focus was Shreyas Iyer. Having recovered from a stress fracture on his back and surgery, Iyer picked up spasms in the back which had him miss most of the Asia Cup while Rahul cemented his spot again in the middle-order.

Agarkar remained hopeful that Iyer would showcase his full fitness throughout the Australia series.

"Finals day I think he got through his program fine and that's why he's been picked. We're hopeful he'll get through these games. He's worked incredibly hard to get to this stage and be fit. And fortunately for him it was not a massive injury he picked up but he did pick up a niggle, he'll have to get through these games and we're hopeful that he will because at the moment he's fine," said Agarkar.

(Cricbuzz inputs)


By Jatin Sharma - 18 Sep, 2023

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