‘Ashwin is in the line’: Rohit Sharma keeps options open for India’s spin all-rounder slot in ODI World Cup

While India’s victory over Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023 final showcased a team in prime form, it also exposed an ongoing selection dilemma concerning the spin all-rounder spot for the upcoming ODI World Cup.

India’s conquest in Colombo was nothing short of a cricketing masterclass. Led by Mohammed Siraj’s six-wicket haul and Hardik Pandya’s three wickets, Sri Lanka were skittled out for just 50 runs.

The modest target was chased down with effortless ease by Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan in a mere 6.1 overs. Gill’s performance throughout the tournament earned him the top run-scorer spot with a total of 302 runs in six matches.

But, the win masked an underlying question that Team India must soon answer: Who will join confirmed pick Ravindra Jadeja as the second spin all-rounder for the ODI World Cup? Team management, under the stewardship of Rahul Dravid, has yet to find a convincing answer.

Washington Sundar, who filled the role during the Asia Cup, and Axar Patel, another contender, have both been part of recent squads. Ravichandran Ashwin, despite being a seasoned campaigner, has been left out of both the Asia Cup team and the preliminary World Cup roster.

Rohit Sharma, after the Asia Cup triumph, suggested that the squad might still undergo changes. His remarks indicated ongoing communication with Ashwin and acknowledged Sundar’s match-readiness, due to his involvement in the Asian Games camp. The sudden injury to Axar Patel has added another layer of complexity to the issue.

Hope for Ashwin

“As a spinner-all-rounder, Ashwin is in the line. I have been talking to him on the phone. The injury happened to Axar at the last minute. Washington was available, so he had to come and perform the role for us,” the Hindustan Times quoted Rohit as saying.

With the deadline for finalising the World Cup squad set for September 28, there’s still time for changes. As India prepares to open its World Cup campaign against Australia on October 8 in Chennai, the second spin all-rounder slot remains a crucial question yet to be resolved.

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Updated: 18 Sep 2023, 12:44 PM IST

 

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