In a surprising turn of events, India has made a late adjustment to its 15-player roster for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Axar Patel was unable to recover in time from a left quadriceps strain he sustained during a match against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, causing him to miss the Asia Cup final.
As a replacement, the experienced spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been chosen. Ashwin made a remarkable comeback in the recent ODI series against Australia, securing four wickets in two matches. Initially, Axar was conditionally included for the final ODI, but his absence led to India’s defeat against Australia by 66 runs in Rajkot.
India is relying on Ashwin’s experience to fill the gap left by Axar. Ashwin also provides an off-spinning option, which was absent from India’s World Cup squad and could be crucial as pitches deteriorate during the 46-day tournament.
Ashwin, at 37 years old, brings previous World Cup experience, having participated in the 2011 and 2015 editions for India. In the 2015 tournament in Australia, he claimed 13 wickets in eight matches, helping India reach the semifinals.
Rohit Sharma, the team’s captain, has emphasized that India has a well-defined plan for the 15-member squad for the World Cup, and any changes will not disrupt their strategy. He stressed the importance of teamwork and players maintaining their physical condition to stay sharp during the tournament.
Despite Axar’s absence, India boasts a nearly full-strength squad, with KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, and Jasprit Bumrah successfully returning from long-term injuries. All three have made significant contributions in the lead-up to the World Cup, with Rahul scoring a century against Pakistan, Iyer hitting a ton against Australia, and Bumrah showcasing his bowling skills, especially in the death overs.”