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With Thursday, September 28 being the last day for teams to announce their respective 2023 ICC World Cup squads, India and Australia have made one change to their teams each.
India’s final squad change: Ashwin replaces Axar
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel has made for veteran offie R Ashwin after it came to light that he would take a few weeks to recover from his left quadricep injury.
R Ashwin replaces injured Axar Patel in the 15-member squad.
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 28, 2023
Ashwin, who was drafted in for the recently-concluded home ODI series against Australia, bowled quite well despite being out of action from fifty-overs cricket for nearly 18 months before that.
In fact Ashwin had featured in two ODIs over the last six years in the lead-up to the Australia series this month as India looked at wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav as the more viable options.
Aged 37, Ashwin has featured in two editions of ODI World Cup cricket before this, having been a part of the title-winning squad of 2011 and then having featured in the 2015 tournament where India made the semifinal.
He joins an Indian squad that consists of two other frontline spinners in the form of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja and adds a bit of a variety given that those two along with Axar are all left-arm spinners.
Kuldeep does turn the other way from Jadeja and Axar but an off-spinner could add a lot of value against teams which have a string of left-handed batsmen like was the case against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.
Australia’s final squad change: Marnus comes in for Agar
Australia’s change is an interesting one. Marnus Labuschagne has come into the squad for his first ever World Cup campaign as he replaces left-arm spinner Ashton Agar. It’s anything but a like for like change with Australia preferring to bolster their middle-order batting at the expense of a spinner.
Agar suffered a calf injury while playing in the ODI series in South Africa and was then forced to miss the India ODIs earlier this month following the birth of his child.
While that leaves Australia with just one frontline spinner in Adam Zampa, they would be encouraged by the form that part-time off-spinner Glenn Maxwell showed with the ball in his first match on return from injury.
Playing in the third ODI against India recently, Maxwell picked up four wickets in the match that included scalps of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
On the other hand, Labuschagne’s batting displays made it irresistible to not pick him after having finished the South Africa series with 283 runs at 70.75 and then made a further 138 runs in the three games against India at an average of 46.
Opening batsman and another part-time off-spinner Travis Head continues to recover from his fractured hand with chief of selectors admitting it came down to carrying just one of the two injured into the tournament.
India squad for the 2023 World Cup
Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah
Australia squad for the 2023 World Cup
Pat Cummins (captain), Mitchell Marsh, David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Sean Abbott, Alex Carey (wicket-keeper), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa
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