As per ICC rules, the deadline for teams to make changes to their World Cup squad is September 28 – no questions asked. Any further changes from Friday will require the consent of the World Cup’s technical committee.
This means Ashwin is one of only two players in this squad, along with Virat Kohli, who also featured in India’s 2011 World Cup-winning campaign. He was not part of the 15-man squad announced by the BCCI in late August. At the time, India’s chief selector Ajit Agarkar revealed that while Ashwin was one of the contenders, the selectors and team management had chosen Axar, who they believed would provide batting depth. In the Asia Cup, when Axar got injured and returned to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, the BCCI appointed Washington Sundar as his replacement.
India head coach Rahul Dravid had said in the media briefing after the third ODI on Wednesday that there have been “no changes” to the World Cup squad. Dravid said that Agarkar was in touch with the NCA regarding Akshar’s rehab. However, after the latest update on Axar, Ashwin has been included, and Washington will fly to China on Friday to join India’s squad for the Asian Games.
India captain Rohit Sharma had said on the eve of the third ODI against Australia that all this experience worked in Ashwin’s favour. “Ashwin has class, he has experience of playing the game and handling pressure. It’s just that he hasn’t played an ODI for a year or more. But you can see the class and the experience that guy has. Cannot be snatched away.” Over the years, and in the last few matches (against Australia), we saw how well he bowled. “He’s got a lot of variations.”
India’s updated World Cup squad
Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
*Story updated after ICC confirmation on September 28, 2023 14.20 GMT.