Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Bangar said Ravichandran Ashwin can certainly replace Axar Patel if the latter doesn’t recover in time for the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup 2023. Axar Patel has been out of action since he sustained a tear in his quadriceps during the Asia Cup game against Bangladesh on September 15 as well. Meanwhile, Ashwin has played a couple of ODIs against Australia and has also picked up four wickets.
Speaking to Star Sports ahead of the third ODI between India and Australia in Rajkot, Sanjay Bangar said: “If Axar Patel doesn’t get fit soon then it will be a problem (for his World Cup chances) as Ashwin will have his bowling to offer. His stats with the bat aren’t as good in ODIs as they are in Tests, but he could certainly do a job at No.8 if needed.”
He further added: “Look it will depend on the conditions as well. If you find conditions in Chennai are such that you have to play third spinner against Australia, and if you don’t have Axar available, then you need to make the change. You can’t just play some other combination and wait for the player to get fit later. It’s a long tournament just like the IPL and you need to start well rather than thinking about deep end of the tournament.”
However, Sanjay Bangar also shared his views on R Ashwin’s inclusion in the team. He stated that last-minute injuries sometimes lead to opportunities like many players and that they should make the most of it as well. Notably, Axar Patel has reportedly been ruled out of the third ODI and Ashwin has replaced him in the team as well.
He said: “Timing is such a thing that you are sometimes nowhere in the picture and suddenly an injury propels you into the reckoning. This is what has happened with Ashwin and we have seen it with KL Rahul too, who was not a part of the team in the Asia Cup but got a chance only because Shreyas Iyer got a stiff back. Since then, he hasn’t looked behind.”
Meanwhile, with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli returning to the team, Ruturaj Gaikwad may miss out on the final ODI. Although Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan have been in form, Bangar feels that they will need to wait as Iyer and Rahul are ahead of them as well.
He said, “I think who is the main wicketkeeper that will be a big point. If it is KL Rahul then he will bat at No. 5 and Shreyas will take the No. 4 spot. Then, unfortunately, Ishan Kishan and Surya will miss out in the last game. If India plan to field the same team in the last ODI that will play in Chennai, then I think Ashwin will play at No.8. If he is playing ahead of Sundar, who played in the Asia Cup, it means the coach and the captain trust him more.”