Team India are gearing up for their last bilateral series before the eagerly awaited ODI World Cup 2023, scheduled to commence on October 5. The three-match ODI series against Australia holds significant importance for both teams as they coincidentally kick off their World Cup campaign with a clash on October 8.

In a surprising move, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has called upon the experienced Indian spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin, for the ODI leg against Australia, set to commence on September 22 in Mohali. This decision marked a remarkable turnaround for Ashwin, who had not been part of India’s initial ODI World Cup plans.

The twist in Ashwin’s ODI comeback story occurred during the Asia Cup final when Axar Patel was ruled out due to a thigh injury. To replace Patel, Washington Sundar was selected for the final. Subsequently, Ashwin was named for the three-match ODI series against Australia.

Amit Mishra offers insights

Former India spinner Amit Mishra has weighed in on Ashwin’s surprise selection. Mishra praised Ashwin as a quality bowler and suggested that he was included in the team due to the absence of a right-arm spin option.

Also READ: Irfan Pathan voices concerns over Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion in Team India ahead of the ODI World Cup 2023

“Ashwin is undoubtedly a quality bowler and a wicket-taker, but remember this is not a 20-over game. It is of 50 overs. The only reason he has been picked is because if a spinner gets injured, then the team needs to have a wicket-taking option, which Ashwin brings. Ashwin has got an edge as an off-spin option, as India already has two left-arm spinners and a wrist-spinner in Kuldeep Yadav,” explained Mishra during a discussion on Jio Cinema.

Fielding and age considerations

Mishra highlighted Ashwin’s fielding as the primary reason for his absence from the 50-over format. He explained that Washington had the upper hand over Ashwin due to his age and fielding abilities.

“The Indian team will be closely observing Ashwin’s performance against Australia to assess if he still possesses wicket-taking abilities in this format. The only reason he is not in the team is because of his fielding and right-handed batting ability. Jadeja and Axar are both lefties. Washington is a young player and has shown wicket-taking abilities, apart from being a batting option. Plus, he provides an advantage with his fielding, something which holds importance in ODIs,” added Mishra.

Also READ: From Shubman Gill to Steve Smith: 5 players to watch out for in the first two India vs Australia ODIs

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