India announce squad for last two ODIs against Australia
What's the story?
India have made just a solitary change to their squad for the final two ODIs against Australia with Axar Patel coming in place of the experienced Ravindra Jadeja after recovering from the injury he suffered ahead of the first ODI. The 15-man squad also has no place for Shikhar Dhawan who was released from the initial squad for the first three ODIs as he left to spend time with his ailing wife.
Squad: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami.
In case you didn't know...
India currently hold an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series against Australia. After beating the visitors in a rain-curtailed game in Chennai, they made it eight ODI wins in a row at Kolkata on the back of Virat Kohli's 92 and Kuldeep Yadav's hat-trick. In the third ODI at Indore, they won again and not only clinched the series but also the No.1 spot in ODIs ahead of South Africa.
The heart of the matter
Kohli had hinted after the third ODI that he would be looking to make a few changes for the last two matches, having already clinched the series.
"We may give opportunities for people from now, but all 15 guys know that we have got to be ruthless once we step onto the field. I know it won't happen every single day, but at least that mindset is there. Credit to the whole squad for the series win, but the journey stops only after the final game."
However, it looks as though it will largely be the same pool of players to choose from for the final two matches of the series.
Having already claimed the No.1 spot in the ODI rankings and extended their winning streak in ODIs to nine matches, India will be looking to make that 10 when they face off against Australia at Bengaluru on Thursday.
Having won nine ODIs in a row, it certainly makes a lot of sense to keep the winning momentum and thus, a similar-looking 15-man squad for the final two matches. While the likes of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh, in particular, will be disappointed to have not made the cut, you can certainly understand where the selectors are coming from.
However, it was also not surprising to see that Axar Patel, who performed so admirably in the series against Sri Lanka come back in place of Ravindra Jadeja. The fact that Shikhar Dhawan is still missing only reaffirms the fact that he is still taking care of his ailing wife and thus doesn't feature in the squad.