Axar, who has been out with a left quadriceps strain since the Asia Cup and was in the squad only for the final ODI subject to fitness, is understood to be recovering well, and the team management expects him to be fit in time for the World Cup. He is currently recovering at the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
Rohit Sharma, the captain, and Virat Kohli, who both sat out the first two games of the series, are back in the line-up but Mohammed Shami, who played the first two games, and Hardik Pandya, who skipped the initial games as well, are not with the squad.
ESPNcricinfo understands that with just 13 players around – Mukesh Kumar was called up ahead of the second ODI which Jasprit Bumrah missed – India might be forced to use local first-class players, who are part of the Saurashtra team, to chip in in the field if needed.
“Gill rested. Shami, Shardul have gone home. Hardik has been home. Again, personal things,” Rohit said on the eve of the match. “Axar obviously is not available for this game. We’ve got only 13 payers to choose from. And there’s a bit of viral going around so there’s a bit of uncertainty in the team as well, which we cannot help. Looking at the next few weeks, it’s quite important for us to look after the players and their well being. It’s okay for them to be home at this point in time, but the reason being we want everybody to be fresh during the World Cup.”
Axar was a part of India’s original World Cup 15, and chief selector Ajit Agarkar had said while naming the squad for the Australia series that India were “hoping Axar will be fit”. Agarkar had further pointed out that both R Ashwin and Washington Sundar would be the ready options in case Axar did not recover in time for the World Cup.
Mukesh and Washington are, however, also in the Asian Games squad, which is expected to leave for China late on September 27, the same day as the third ODI. But India’s first game in Hangzhou is only on October 3.
On Ashwin, Rohit had said at that same press meet, “The games against Australia will give us a chance to look at where he’s at.” As such, Ashwin has given a fair account of himself so far, returning 1 for 47 and 3 for 41 in the two games.
India won the first two ODIs against Australia, taking the series in the process. The first win, which took India to the No. 1 position in the ICC’s ODI team rankings, came by five wickets with eight balls in hand, after Australia fought back from a poor position. But in the second, India were as dominant as expected in home conditions, putting up 399 for 5 courtesy centuries from Gill and Shreyas Iyer before stopping Australia at 217 in 28.2 overs, when their DLS-revised target was 317 in 33 overs.
#Axar #Patel #Shubman #Gill #Shardul #Thakur #Indias #ODI #Australia