The BCCI men's selection committee on Monday (September 18) announced India’s squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series against Australia and there was a notable omission in it.
Despite the absence of left-arm spinner Akshar Patel from the first two ODIs due to quadriceps strain, Yuzvendra Chahal was not considered for selection. Instead, the selectors recalled veteran off-spinner R Ashwin to the ODI team and also retained Washington Sundar in the side.
In 72 ODIs, Chahal has taken 121 wickets at an average of 27.13 and an economy rate of 5.27. However, the wrist-spinner hasn’t been at his best lately and wasn’t picked in the Asia Cup and World Cup squads as well. His last ODI appearance was against New Zealand in January 2023.
However, former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has been left baffled by the selectors’ decision to overlook Chahal.
“Yuzvendra Chahal should have been here. He has not been given an opportunity. It is beyond my understanding. Either he has fought with someone or he has said something to someone, I don't know. If we talk only about skill, his name should have been there in this team because a lot of Team India players are resting,” said Harbhajan while speaking on his YouTube channel.
Harbhajan went on to say that the Men in Blue have to continue the winning habit that they developed in Asia Cup 2023.
India clinched the continental tournament with a crushing 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Colombo on Sunday (September 17).
“Team India have to continue the winning habit they developed in the Asia Cup. They have the ability to beat Australia as well. The team is slightly weak for the first two matches but I believe this slightly weak team can also come out on top against them,” he added.
While KL Rahul will lead India in the first two ODIs against Australia, Rohit Sharma will return to captain the side in the last game.
Harbhajan said India will have to be at their best to beat the five-time champions Australia.
“Australia were playing against South Africa and India were playing against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup. Australia are a different team. You will have to be at your best to beat Australia because they have decent batting till No. 7 or No. 8 and they have solid hitters,” he opined.