In preparation for the upcoming ODI World Cup, India decimated Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the Asia Cup 2023 final in Colombo on Sunday. A record six-wicket haul by Mohammed Siraj saw India bowl out Sri Lanka for 50 runs in 15.2 overs, and even Hardik Pandya bagged three wickets. Chasing a target of 51 runs, India raced to 51/0 in 6.1 overs, courtesy of unbeaten knocks by Shubman Gill (27*) and Ishan Kishan (23*). Gill also ended as the tournament’s highest run-scorer with 302 runs in six games.
Ahead of the ODI World Cup, India will also face Australia in a three-match ODI series. India will be looking to sort out their permutations and combinations, and put in a good display in the World Cup, which they also will be hosting. The Asia Cup final saw Washington Sundar join Ravindra Jadeja in the spin all-rounder department.
With Jadeja, a confirmed pick, Rahul Dravid and his management staff are still unsure about who they should pair with the senior all-rounder in the ICC event. Other than Sundar, they have tried out Axar Patel in that role and he was part of the Asia Cup squad. Even Ravichandran Ashwin has been used in that role, but he was excluded from the Asia Cup squad. The veteran has also been excluded from India’s World Cup roster, and even Sundar has missed out.
The spin all-rounders selected are Jadeja and Axar. However, Team India can adjust the squad list, with the deadline being set for September 28. After India’s win in the Asia Cup final, Rohit gave Ashwin and Sundar some hope of being included in the World Cup squad with a bombshell statement. Meanwhile, Axar has also been injured. “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,” said Rohit.
“He (Washington) was cricket-fit because he was part of the Asian Games camp (in Bengaluru). I have been very clear with players about their roles. Everyone is in the loop,” he added.
Ashwin last played an ODI for India in January 2022, against South Africa. So it will be interesting to see if Rohit decides to include him. The home side will open their World Cup campaign against Australia, on October 8 in Chennai.