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India World Cup Squad 2023: Ashwin in, Axar out: What India’s World Cup squad change means for Rohit Sharma’s Men in Blue | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: The Rohit Sharma-led Indian team for the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup made just one change to its provisional 15-member squad on the last day of final submission to the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday. Veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was included in place of Axar Patel, who failed to recover fully from an injury.
The change was on expected lines after Ashwin was included for the first two games of the recently concluded three-match ODI series against Australia, which acted as the final dress rehearsal for both the teams ahead of the showpiece event which India will be sole hosts of for the first time.

Ashwin took four wickets in two games against the Aussies, including 3 for 41 in the second match in Indore. As the news of him travelling to Guwahati with the team for the warm-up match against England on Sunday came out, there were enough hints pointing at his inclusion in the final World Cup squad for the hosts, even before the official announcement happened later in the day.

So, what does this change mean for Team India going into the all-important tournament? What does Rohit Sharma gain as skipper and what does he lose with this change in personnel?
* The first and most obvious thing that has happened because of this swap is that captain Rohit is getting an extremely experienced and intelligent cricketing brain at his disposal. Axar has been part of the set-up for a few years now, but Ashwin brings with him immense cricketing knowledge and proven match-winning temperament, along with out of the box approaches to different situations.
* Both bowling all-rounders have similar ODI records — Ashwin has a bowling average of 33.20 and an economy rate of 4.94 and a bowling strike rate of just over 40 in 115 games. Axar has taken his wickets at an average of 32.23 runs and also boasts of sub 5 economy rate — 4.54 in 54 ODIs. His bowling strike rate though is inferior to Ashwin’s in ODIs. Similarly, Ashwin has accumulated 707 runs @16.44 with one fifty, whereas Axar has scored 481 runs @20.04 with the help of two half-centuries, slightly better than his senior pro.


* Bowling wise, as per stats, it’s a like for like replacement in the squad. But Ashwin has a tad inferior batting record than the much younger Axar, who boasts a hundred plus (101.69) batting strike rate which may come in handy as a No.8/9 batter in the slog overs.
* Ashwin’s game awareness and match smartness is well known and may play a crucial role in tight contests. His ability to remain calm in tense situations will be an asset for Rohit and his team, as witnessed in the thrilling win against Pakistan in the 2022 T20 World Cup Down Under.
* The one thing Rohit and the team management will be slightly wary of is that Axar has an edge over Ashwin in batting strike rate. While Axar boasts of one over 100, Ashwin has one below 90. Add to that the fact that the other spin all-rounder in the squad- Ravindra Jadeja – has an overall strike rate of almost 85 and has been struggling to get going in ODIs with the bat and scoring runs at below 65 strike rate in the last two years. This aspect might hamper India’s batting in both cases of setting a target and chasing one.

Team india squad2

Here are brief profiles of Ashwin and Axar for fans to make a learned decision, whether Team India benefited from the change or not.


Ravichandran Ashwin (AFP Photo)
Ravichandran Ashwin: A veteran bowling allrounder with more than 700 international wickets and 4000 runs, Ashwin is a proven match-winner for India. But more effective in the Test format than the white ball cricket. In fact, the 37 years old has been out of the white-ball scheme of things since 2017, playing just two ODIs before playing two more one-dayers in the just concluded series against Australia. He has a decent overall ODI record, having taken 155 wickets in 115 matches at 33.20 average. His economy rate of 4.94 is an excellent stat in this era. A handy bat down the order, he has scored 707 runs in 63 innings @16.44 and a strike rate of 86.96. He has only one fifty in ODIs, in contrast to his five hundreds and 14 fifties in Tests.
Ashwin’s ODI Record:
Bowling: M 115 | W 155 | BBI 4/25 | Ave 33.20 | Econ 4.94 | SR 40.2
Batting: M 115 | R 707 | HS 65 | Ave 16.44 | SR 86.96 | 1x50s


Axar Patel (AFP Photo)
Axar Patel: Even though the bowling allrounder made his India debut in 2014, he was in and out of the squad till he has slowly established himself as a regular member of the team in the last two years or so. The 29 years old has almost 150 international wickets and 1300 plus runs for India so far. After being out of the ODI set-up for four years, from 2108 to 2021, Axar has made an impressive comeback in the squad and contributed with both bat and ball. He has played 54 ODIs so far and taken 59 wickets at an average of 32.23 with an excellent economy rate of 4.54. He has also scored 481 runs @20.04, including two fifties, and boasts a strike rate of 101.69.
Axar’s ODI Record:
Bowling: M 54 | W 59 | BBI 3/24 | Ave 32.23 | Econ 4.54 | SR 42.5
Batting: M 54 | R 481 | HS 64* | Ave 20.04 | SR 101.69 | 2x50s
India’s Final World Cup 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
* Any further changes to the squad will need ICC permission
Watch R Ashwin finds a place in World Cup Team, injured Axar Patel replaced

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