On September 28, the deadline for all the teams to make changes to their squads for the 2023 ICC World Cup is fast approaching, and India faces a crucial decision. The choice lies between Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin. Team management has made it clear that if Axar is fit, he will be in the squad; otherwise, Ashwin is likely to be chosen ahead of Washington Sundar, who performed well in the last ODI against Australia in Rajkot.
Before India’s final One Day International (ODI) match leading up to the ICC World Cup 2023, skipper Rohit Sharma had to address the question surrounding Ravichandran Ashwin’s late inclusion in the squad. Ashwin’s impressive performance against Australia has made him a top contender to replace the injured Axar Patel, who is recovering from a hamstring injury sustained during the Asia Cup. This injury has raised doubts about Axar’s availability for the ODI World Cup.
‘We are not confused’: Rohit on India’s World Cup squad:
“When we talk about the 15, we are very clear what we want. We are not confused, we know where we are headed as a team. It’s a team sport and we want everyone to come and play their part – that’s how we win championships. It’s about looking after the body and try and stay fresh for the next one and half months,” Rohit stated after Australia salvaged pride with a win over India in the dead rubber at Rajkot.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Rohit Sharma reiterated that the Indian think tank had already finalized the 15-member roster for the World Cup ahead of the deadline. With Axar racing against time to recover and Ashwin not featuring in the 3rd ODI against Australia, the decision appeared to be imminent.
In the lead-up to the final ODI, India welcomed back big names like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Ashwin was rested for this match, and Washington Sundar got a chance to open the innings with makeshift opener Sundar. Rohit Sharma played a scintillating knock of 81 off 57 balls. Despite his outstanding performance, India lost to the five-time world champions, ending their five-match losing streak before the World Cup.
“I’m pretty happy, of course, I would like to go all the way along but if I’m hitting like that, I’m happy. In the last 7-8 ODIs we have played really well, we have been challenged under different conditions and different teams, and I thought we responded to that challenge pretty well. Unfortunately, not the result we wanted today. I’m pretty happy, more importantly how he (Bumrah) feels body-wise, he has got so much skill, one bad game can happen to anyone. How he feels mentally and body-wise is key for us and that’s looking good for us,” Rohit Sharma Shines in Final ODI Before India’s World Cup Opener Against Australia
Despite the rare defeat in a chase, India managed to seal the series with a 2-1 margin. In a heartwarming gesture, Rohit Sharma called upon KL Rahul, who played a pivotal role in India’s first two wins in the series, to collect the trophy after India’s series victory.
Rohit Sharma also discussed Jasprit Bumrah’s return to the ODI squad for the World Cup. Although Bumrah conceded 81 runs, he took crucial wickets of Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey, and Glenn Maxwell in the high-scoring encounter at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium. Bumrah had been rested for the 2nd ODI but rejoined the squad for the Rajkot encounter.
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