'Beyond my understanding': Harbhajan baffled at selectors after India bring back Ashwin for Australia series

By, New Delhi
Sep 19, 2023 06:32 PM IST

Harbhajan Singh has slammed the Indian selectors after India recalled veteran all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin in its squad for the Australia series.

After Indian all-rounder Axar Patel sustained an injury before the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma hinted that a sensational white-ball return for Ravichandran Ashwin might be on the cards. A day after Rohit and Co. were crowned champions of Asia in Colombo, veteran Indian all-rounder Ashwin sealed his One Day International (ODI) return for the Australia series.

Harbhajan Singh opened up about Ashwin's return to the Indian side ahead of the World Cup(AP-ANI)
Harbhajan Singh opened up about Ashwin's return to the Indian side ahead of the World Cup(AP-ANI)

India have announced two squads for the three-match series against Australia. The Australia series will be India's final white-ball assignment before the ICC World Cup. The five-time world champions will play three ODIs and five T20Is against the hosts. Reacting to India's squad announcement for the ODI series, legendary spinner Harbhajan Singh has called out selectors for bringing reinforcements in the form of spinners Ashwin and Washington Sundar.

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'They have probably realized their mistake'

"First Washington Sundar, who wasn't in the original Asia Cup squad, was called there. After that, a second player has been added for this series and that is R Ashwin. So somewhere or the other Team India are searching for off-spinners. They have probably realized their mistake that they haven't picked an off-spinner in the team and that our bowlers can get into trouble if a lot of left-handers come in front of them. Why unnecessarily go through all this? It is beyond my understanding or they are going to make another mistake to rectify their earlier mistake," Harbhajan said on his YouTube channel.

Senior all-rounder Ashwin last played an ODI for India in January 2022. It should be noted that no off-spinner was named in India's 15-member squad for the World Cup. India also went without an off-spinner at the Asia Cup. The Indian think tank has also decided to rest skipper Rohit, ex-captain Virat Kohli, vice-captain Hardik Pandya and spinner Kuldeep for the first two matches of the Australia series.

'You will never pick three spinners'

"You will never pick three spinners in the team. You will choose two at the most. Ravindra Jadeja is definitely going to play, no matter how many left-handers are there in front of you, and the other spinner will be Kuldeep Yadav. No one can take his place as of now," Harbhajan opined.

Besides Washington and Ashwin, Tilak Varma and Prasidh Krishna have also been added to India's squad for the ODI series. All-rounder Axar, who missed the Asia Cup final due to a quadriceps strain, is picked for the 3rd ODI against Australia. However, Axar's participation is subject to fitness. Talking more about the return of Ashwin,, former India spinner Harbhajan also explained how the veteran all-rounder can feature in the World Cup squad of the Men In Blue.

'Ashwin can become a part of this team'

"Two off-spinners have been kept because you have time till 28th September. You will once again want to see both these players, R Ashwin and Washington Sundar, that what they can do in this format. It is clear or else you wouldn't have kept two off-spinners in the team. It's possible that if either of them gives an extraordinary performance, he can get a place in Team India's squad for the World Cup. So a lot is at stake because R Ashwin can become a part of this team and even Washington Sundar can," he added.

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