After a triumphant performance in the Asia Cup 2023, where Team India clinched the title in a thrilling final against Sri Lanka, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) unveiled the Indian squad for the upcoming home series against Australia. The squad included several changes to the ODI lineup, with some key players given a rest for the first two matches.
Rest for key players
India decided to rest captain Rohit Sharma and star batter Virat Kohli for the initial two ODIs, making way for new faces in the lineup. While seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made his return to the ODI squad, another notable absentee was ace spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
Kuldeep’s outstanding Asia Cup performance
Kuldeep had been a standout performer in the Asia Cup 2023, where he consistently delivered stellar performances with the ball. Throughout the tournament, he secured nine wickets in five games, boasting an impressive average of 11.44 and an economy rate of 3.61. His outstanding contributions earned him the prestigious Player of the Series award as India dominated the summit clash.
Rohit Sharma’s explanation
Team India skipper Rohit has now shed light on the decision to rest Kuldeep for the first two ODIs against Australia. The Mumbaikar cited India’s strategy of keeping their cards close to their chest, emphasizing the importance of not allowing Australia to become too familiar with Kuldeep’s bowling right before the ODI World Cup 2023.
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“Kuldeep is a rhythm bowler, we all know that. But we thought of a lot of things and took this call. His bowling is going well… we had to give players a chance, especially those who played just one game at the Asia Cup and are in the World Cup squad,” explained Rohit as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
Rohit further elaborated on their rationale, saying the management has been closely monitoring Kuldeep’s performance and development over the past year and a half, recognizing his importance. To preserve his effectiveness and maintain an element of surprise, they’ve opted to keep him out of the first two ODIs.
“We have been looking at Kuldeep for the last one, one and a half years, this is why we don’t want to expose him a lot. He is coming back for the last match. There are a lot of reasons. This is the best decision for us, to have him sit out for two games and play the third. We also have two practice matches [before the World Cup opener], so for the bowling rhythm, he will be back in it,” added Rohit.
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