‘He’s one of our trump cards’

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced India’s squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series vs Australia. Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has made a return to the ODI team after 20 months ahead of the World Cup. Apart from him, all-rounder Washinton Sundar has also been included in the squad as a backup for Axar Patel who got ruled out of the Asia Cup 2023 final due to a left quadriceps strain.

Asia Cup Player of the Series, Kuldeep Yadav has been rested for the first two matches. The left-arm spinner picked up nine wickets from four innings during the continental tournament at an average of 11.44 and an economy of 3.61. Speaking about Kuldeep’s sensational comeback to the Indian team, chief selector Ajit Agarkar hailed him as India’s trump card heading into the World Cup.

“I have spent a couple of years along with in the IPL, he is a guy with special skill set and he is showing that on the field right now. He is one of India’s trump card right now. Clearly, most teams are finding him as a challenge at this moment,” said Agarkar in the press conference.

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Since 2022, Kuldeep is India’s second-highest wicket-taker with 43 scalps to his name from 23 innings at an average of 18.93 and an economy of 4.70 with three four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul to his name. The left-arm spinner has made a remarkable comeback to the team after going through the worst phase of his career in 2020 and 2021.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli rested from first two ODIs vs Australia

Meanwhile, apart from Kuldeep, captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya have also been rested for the first two ODIs (to be played on September 22 and 24) against Australia. Ruturaj Gaikwad has been drafted into the squad in Rohit’s place to open the innings.

All the players will return to play the third ODI of the tour on September 27 at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot which will serve as India’s last international game ahead of World Cup 2023. The Men in Blue will start their campaign in the mega event vs Australia on October 08 at M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.


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