Ashwin Returns as India Opts to Bowl First in 1st ODI Against Australia

India’s stand-in captain KL Rahul chooses to field first as Ravichandran Ashwin makes his ODI comeback after 20 months against Australia in the series opener.

In a significant development, Ravichandran Ashwin has returned to India’s ODI playing eleven after an absence of approximately 20 months. Stand-in captain KL Rahul won the toss and decided to bowl first as India faced Australia in the opening match of the ODI series at the PCA Stadium on Friday.

Alongside Ashwin, who last played an ODI against South Africa in January 2022, several other players, including Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, and Mohammed Shami, also found their way into the playing eleven.

Explaining his decision to bowl first, Rahul cited Mohali’s reputation as a favorable chasing ground. The pitch report had indicated a placid surface for Friday’s match.

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“Historically, it’s a good chasing ground, and that’s about it. There are a few aspects we need to focus on, and we must continue to excel in areas where we’ve succeeded. It’s another challenge, facing the best team in the world, and it’s always enjoyable to play against them. They are a highly competitive team, and we’ve relished competing with them,” he remarked.

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Australia’s captain, Pat Cummins, returned to the side after missing the South Africa tour due to a wrist injury. He mentioned that he too would have chosen to bowl first. Matt Short made his ODI debut, and Josh Inglis took up the wicketkeeping duties in place of a rested Alex Carey.

“It’s good to be back; it’s been a while since I’ve played here. Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell aren’t quite ready. I would’ve bowled first as well, but I don’t really mind. The weather is pleasant, and Warner and Marsh will open the batting, followed by Smith, Marnus, and Inglis,” Cummins added.

Playing XIs:

India: Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (captain & wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Shami.

Australia: David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis (wicketkeeper), Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Short, Pat Cummins (captain), Sean Abbott, and Adam Zampa.