While addressing a press conference with chief selector Ajit Agarkar, Rohit said that the team had a discussion about an off or leg spinner.
“But we also want someone who can bat at number eight and nine.
Axar has had a great run with the bat in all formats and the IPL. He got some chances in the West Indies too, but he bats too low. Him being there gives us batting depth, a left-hand option and someone who we can use up the order to play spin.
We also thought of Ashwin (Ravichandran Ashwin) and Washi (Washington Sundar) as well. The only way we could include them was by having a seamer miss out. We cannot do this because seamers are going to be playing a massive role in the next two months.”
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Having said that, Rohit made it clear that the door is open for all including Ashwin and Sundar.
“But the door is open for all. If we need Chahal in World Cup, we will try to squeeze him in. The same goes for Ashwin and Washington,” he added.
Agarkar said that fitting in two wrist spinners in the current set-up was proving to be difficult for the Asia Cup, which is why Chahal was omitted from the squad and Kuldeep Yadav is currently ahead of him in the scheme of things.
“Axar Patel has done really well. He can bat too. Kuldeep Yadav has had a fantastic run to this point. So someone had to miss out. Kuldeep is currently a little ahead of him (Chahal), said Agarkar in the conference.
Kuldeep has had a fantastic 2023 in white-ball cricket, taking seven wickets in three matches with the best figures of 4/6 and eight wickets in seven T20Is, with the best figures of 3/28.
This year Chahal has taken three wickets in two ODIs and nine wickets in nine T20Is.
The skipper said that established players returning from injuries cannot be neglected and the team management is having talks with non-regular players about where they stand.
“Players like Yashasvi, Tilak, Sanju and Suryakumar will have to wait for their opportunities. We have conversations about where they stand with players like these and they are well aware of where they stand,” he said.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday announced a strong 17-member squad for the upcoming Asia Cup 2023 which will begin on August 30 with Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul returning to the squad and Tilak Verma also getting a place in the teamThe 2023 Asia Cup will be co-hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka with the tournament running from August 30 to September 17.
Asia Cup will serve as an important benchmark for India’s preparations for the World Cup starting in October and will also help selectors make choices for the marquee event.
India will open their Asia Cup campaign with an iconic clash against Pakistan on September 2 in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been appointed Rohit Sharma’s deputy in Asia Cup 2023.
The squad also marks the return of Jasprit Bumrah to ODI cricket after a gap of more than one year. After proving his fitness in the ongoing T20I series against Ireland, Bumrah is set to test himself in the 50-over format heading into the World Cup. India’s pace attack will be boosted by the return of Mohammed Siraj, who was not the in the team for some time due to a sore ankle.
Tilak Varma made it to India’s Asia Cup squad on the back of his strong performance against West Indies during the tour that ended this month.
A big question ahead of Team India’s selection meeting for the Asia Cup 2023 was the fitness of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. Both have made it to the squad.
Bowling all-rounders Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel are also in the squad to give the captain more diversity in choices. Apart from Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja is also in the team as an all-rounder.
The tournament will kick off with a clash between Pakistan and Nepal in Multan, Pakistan.
Pakistan, India and Nepal are in Group A while Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are in Group B. The tournament will follow a hybrid model with Pakistan hosting four matches across two venues and Sri Lanka hosting the remaining games.
The six group-stage matches will be followed by the Super fours, beginning September 6.
The final will be played by the top two teams at the end of the Super fours on September 17 in Colombo.
Squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.
(With ANI Inputs)