For the first two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against visiting Australia, Indian selectors rested captain Rohit Sharma and batting sensation Virat Kohli from the 15-man roster on Monday.
The inclusion of Washington Sundar and veteran off-spinner R Ashwin, who are both useful lower-order batsmen, in the roster suggests that they could be able to make it back to the World Cup in October.
Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav and all-rounder Axar Patel, who is recuperating from an injury scare in the recently finished Asia Cup competition in Sri Lanka, have both been rested by India.
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Patel and Yadav, who are both included in the Indian World Cup team, will be back for the third and final ODI against Australia, along with all the other regulars.
Before the crucial World Cup, when they would have to travel far around India, Sharma told reporters it was crucial to evaluate their bench strength in the bilateral series that begins on Friday.
In Sharma’s absence, KL Rahul, who just made a long-awaited comeback from injury, will captain the Indian team against Australia.
Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, R Ashwin, and Washington Sundar are the members of the India team (first two ODIs).
Squad (third ODI): Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel (pending fitness), Rishikesh Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar