Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja given 'rest' again

Selectors leave out senior spin duo out for first 3 ODIs against Australia; pacers Shami, Yadav return to 16-member squad

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Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja given 'rest' again
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja


Is Team India looking beyond Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for One-Day Internationals?

Chief selector MSK Prasad might have dismissed any debate by using the word 'rest' for the spin twins missing out from the first three ODIs against Australia.

Many questions have started doing the rounds in cricketing circles on the duo who have been kept out of the 16-member squad for the first three ODIs against Australia in the five-match series.

The selectors have chosen to not disturb the winning combination that toured Sri Lanka and have rewarded the performances of young spin trio left-arm spinner Axar Patel, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav.

However, the rested duo of fast bowlers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami made a return to the squad with axe falling only on Mumbai seamer Shardul Thakur.

"The team for the three ODIs against Australia has been selected in line with the rotation policy of the Board and accordingly R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been rested," Prasad said in a release sent by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday.

"The team's performance during the Sri Lanka tour was outstanding and players like Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal, who performed very well are being given an extended run and this will in turn supplement our approach, to build a strong reserve strength, as we prepare for forthcoming tours," the former India stumper added

Ashwin is currently busy playing for Worcestershire in England's County Championship while Jadeja has no such assignments.

While Ashwin may have been officially rested, his comments according to recent reports suggested that he would be available to play against Australia.

"I could be called to play in the Australia series. But I have indicated to Bumpy (Steve Rhodes, the Worcestershire director of cricket) that I will be available for all four games. As of now, there are no communication channels open but they will be shortly so. I'll probably get a clearer idea after the Sri Lanka series," Ashwin was quoted as saying not long ago.

It may be recalled that Ashwin, though in the squad for the ICC Champions Trophy, was left out of the XI for the initial matches. The offie got to play in three games in the Champions Trophy in England, returning with one wicket while Jadeja picked up four wickets in five games.

Even in West Indies, Ashwin played in three games, and Jadeja just two.

There have been times when captain Kohli had to take harsh decision of dropping his No. 1 bowler in some games. Before Champions Trophy game against Sri Lanka, Kohli had to say this: "(Ashwin) He's very professional. He understands what the team demands. It's a very nice and beautiful thing about him that he always puts the team first. He was the first guy who said, 'I have no problems with the kind of combination you're going in with'," Kohli had said.

Going by the stats of the last two years from 2015 till date, both Ashwin and Jadeja have not returned with impressive numbers. In 15 ODIs, the Tamil Nadu offie has just 16 wickets while Jadeja has managed 21 from 25 games.

Their lack of wickets in bulk in blue jersey doesn't take away sheen from their performances in Test cricket, but the question will still remain as to why such a long "rest" has been given to these world-class bowlers.

ODI squad (for 1st 3 matches):
Virat Kohli (C), R Sharma (VC), S Dhawan, KL Rahul, M Pandey, K Jadhav, A Rahane, MS Dhoni (WK), H Pandya, A Patel, K Yadav, Y Chahal, J Bumrah, B Kumar, U Yadav, M Shami

India 'A' squad (four-day matches vs New Zealand A): P Panchal, R Samarth, S Chatterjee, S Iyer, A Bawne, K Nair (C), H Vihari, R Pant (WK), S Nadeem, K Gowtham, N Saini, S Thakur, M Siraj, A Rajpoot

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