Offspinner is included in the 13 named for the series finale at Sydney
Two hours after India’s spokesperson declared that R Ashwin was unfit for the Sydney Test, the offspinner was included in the 13 named for the series finale. That was not the only surprise: Ishant Sharma wasn’t included in the 13. Umesh Yadav was roped in as his replacement. Ishant experienced some left rib-cage discomfort and the team management did not want to risk him during this Test, with a spokesman saying he was “currently being assessed”.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav has found a place too, while KL Rahul returned in place of Rohit Sharma, who has flown back home to attend to his wife and newborn daughter. This means India is not entertaining any thoughts of playing Hardik Pandya, the allrounder flown in after the Perth defeat.
This time Ashwin was declared unfit before being included in the 13. Not only did the media manager announce that he had been ruled out, India’s captain Virat Kohli went on to lament his absence, in particular since his injury – a side strain – was similar to the one that troubled him during India’s tour of England last year. “He is very important for sure. In Test cricket he is a vital part of this team, and we want him to be 100% fit and for a longer period so that he can contribute to us more in the Test format. He is very disappointed with the fact that he has not been able to recover in time, but the things have been laid out to him (as to) what needs to be done to get back to full fitness. Honestly, you can’t predict an injury, when it happens you just manage and doing what he can to get over that injury.”
India squad for Sydney Test:
KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.
India name 13-man squad for SCG Test: Virat Kohli (C), A Rahane (VC), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, C Pujara, H Vihari, R Pant, R Jadeja, K Yadav, R Ashwin, M Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 2, 2019
The squad suggests that K.L Rahul will be opening for India along with Mayank Agarwal and H.Vihari will be shifted to the no.6 spot once again. Either Jadeja or Kuldeep will handle the spin department if Ashwin will be playing. Umesh will join the pace attack alongside Shami & Bumrah.