‘I don’t see Ashwin in India's World Cup 15. He might be there as mentor': Ex-Australia captain on Axar's replacement

By, New Delhi
Sep 26, 2023 12:55 PM IST

The former Australian skipper has expressed his reservations about the India star replacing Axar Patel in the World Cup squad.

Has Ravichandran Ashwin already done enough to seal a place in India's World Cup squad which might see a few last-minute changes? An injury to all-rounder Axar Patel has been a blessing in disguise for the senior spinner, who is known for ruling the roost in Indian conditions. With two-time champions India set to the host 2023 edition of the World Cup next month, the Men In Blue have already arrived at their final stop in Rajkot.

India's Ravichandran Ashwin with teammates celebrates a wicket during the second ODI cricket match between India and Australia(PTI)
India's Ravichandran Ashwin with teammates celebrates a wicket during the second ODI cricket match between India and Australia(PTI)

Boosted by the returns of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, India will meet Australia in the final 50-over contest before the ICC World Cup. Ashwin, who was overlooked by selectors in a World Cup squad that didn't feature a single off-spinner, finds himself gunning for a spot in the same Indian roster. In the absence of spinner Axar, superstar Ashwin stamped his authority by architecting the collapse of Australia's top order in the series decider against India at Indore on Sunday. Earning plaudits for his bowling heroics against Australia, Ashwin has strengthened his selection case for the ICC World Cup.

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'Ashwin might struggle to make it to final 15'

If Axar is unable to prove his match fitness before the World Cup, Ashwin might punch his tickets for the showpiece event. However, former Australian captain Aaron Finch believes Ashwin will find it hard to feature in the 15-member squad for the World Cup. Speaking to Star Sports in the lead-up to the 3rd One Day International (ODI) between India and Australia, Finch issued a rather bold statement against an in-form Ashwin.

"I think he (Ashwin) might struggle to make it to the final 15, but as somebody who has played so much cricket, I think the rest of the group that is with the Indian team for this current series against Australia, they could learn so much about big gameplay," Finch said.

In-form Ashwin stars in India's massive win over Australia

Finch’s remarks have arrived after Ashwin showcased his class against the five-time world champions. Premier batter Marnus Labuschagne was bamboozled by Ashwin in the series decider at Indore. After castling Labuchagne with a pearler, Ashwin won the battle against David Warner, who even tried to bat right-handed in a bid to counterattack the in-form spinner in the rain-marred contest. The 37-year-old was the pick of the bowlers for India as KL Rahul and Co. hammered Australia by 99 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead over the visitors.

'I wouldn't be surprised if…'

"Because Ashwin is somebody that stands up in big games, whether it's a Test match or a T20 game, he has done it all throughout his career. So I wouldn't be surprised if he's there at the moment as a mentor around the group, but I don't see him making that last 15, unfortunately," added Finch, who propelled Australia to T20 World Cup glory in 2021.

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