After being ruled out of contention for the final Test in the press conference on Wednesday, R Ashwin was named in India’s 13-man shortlist for the match in Sydney starting on Thursday.
A decision on Ashwin’s availability will be taken on the morning of the Test, informed BCCI.
With Rohit Sharma unavailable for selection, India will be forced to make a change in the batting lineup for the final Test of the series and Kuldeep Yadav and KL Rahul find themselves in the mix. With Ishant Sharma’s name missing from the shortlist, Kohli will have to alter his bowling combination as well.
UPDATE: Ishant was experiencing discomfort in his left rib cage and hence been ruled out, according to Cricbuzz.
Hanuma Vihari filled in as the opener in Melbourne alongside debutant Mayank Agarwal but Rohit’s absence could see him drop back to the middle order with Rahul taking his spot at the top of the order.
Kuldeep’s consideration also means playing two spinners on a track that traditionally takes turn is definitely on the cards for India.
But whether it is Ashwin or will Vihari’s part-timers be deemed enough, remains to be seen.
The day started with Ashwin being ruled out of contention during Kohli’s press conference.
“It’s unfortunate that he’s had two niggles that are quite similar in the last two away tours,” skipper Virat Kohli had said.
“He’s very important for sure. In Test cricket he’s a vital part of this team and we wanted him to be 100 percent fit for a longer period so that he can come back in the Test format. He is very disappointed that he’s not able to recover in time,” he had added.
Kohli hinted at Vihari being considered the team’s second spinner as well.
“The Ashwin factor, it does make you alter your plans a little bit. But Vihari was bowling beautiful whenever he got the ball,” Kohli said.
“Vihari has looked like picking up a wicket every time he comes on to bowl. We are looking at him as a solid bowling option now, especially in this Test match.”
Umesh Yadav is the third seamer named in the bowling lineup, after he was a surprise inclusion in the XI for the second Test in Perth.
India’s 13-man squad for SCG Test: Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav