NEW DELHI: Off-spin­ner Ravichandran Ashwin replaced left-arm spinner Axar Patel on Thursday in India’s squad for the Cric­ket World Cup on home soil after he failed to recover from a thigh injury.

The 37-year-old Ashwin impressed against Aust­ralia earlier this month, taking four wickets in two games as he returned to the ODI team for the first time in over 18 months.

He is the only specialist off-spinner in India’s 15-man squad, and one of just two players alongside star batsman Virat Kohli who featured in India’s 2011 World Cup-winning run.

“When we talk about the 15-man squad, we are very clear what we want,” Indian captain Rohit Sharma said on Wedne­sday after the 2-1 series victory over Australia.

“We are not confused, we know where we are headed as a team.

“It’s a team sport and we want everyone to come and play their part – that’s how we win championships. It’s about looking after the body, try and stay fresh for the next one and half months.”

Ashwin claimed 13 wickets in eight matches as India reached the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup in Australia, but he was not selected for the 2019 edition in England.

Axar sustained a left quadriceps strain in the recent Asia Cup and the spin-bowling all-rounder missed the final as a result.

Host India will begin their World Cup campaign against five-time champions Australia in Chennai on October 8.

Squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2023

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