India recall Ashwin for Australia ODIs; Rahul to captain in first two games

India have included both R Ashwin and Washington Sundar in their 15-member squad for the three-match ODIs series against Australia.

Ashwin last played an ODI more than 18 months ago, and his selection is a chance for the team management to have him ready, along with Washington, should they need a replacement for Axar Patel, who has a left quadriceps strain that ruled him out of the Asia Cup final.

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“For the third game, everyone will be available. We will play our World Cup squad. This [squad for the first two ODIs] gives us a chance to give guys sitting outside a chance. It’s still a strong squad. Like I said, if we hadn’t got a lot of cricket at the Asia Cup, who knows, we may have thought differently.”

With Rohit resting, India have the option of picking either Ishan Kishan or Ruturaj Gaikwad as an opener. Gaikwad has been training at the NCA along with the rest of India’s Asian Games contingent that will leave for China on September 27. Gaikwad, who is set to captain that team, will now link up with the rest of the touring group immediately after the second ODI in Indore on September 24.

The series, which begins on September 22, is India’s last ODI assignment before the World Cup and it presents a chance for highly-rated middle-order batter Tilak Varma to push his case at the highest level. He has been picked for the first two games along with Ruturaj Gaikwad, who will lead India at the Asian games.

India’s squad for Australia series

For first two ODIs: KL Rahul (capt), Ravindra Jadeja (vice-capt), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar

For third ODI: Rohit Sharma (capt), Hardik Pandya (vice-capt), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel (subject to fitness), R Ashwin, Washington Sundar

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo