R Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer are set to make their respective returns to the cricket world. Iyer appeared in India's first two Asia Cup games at Pallekele, while Ashwin has only played two One-Day Internationals in the last six years. Both players are expected to be in the playing XI for the opening ODI against Australia on Friday (September 22) at Mohali.
It is critical for the Indian side to examine Iyer's fitness, especially after he was forced to miss the Super 4 game in Colombo owing to back spasms – and especially given he is a member of the World Cup squad. The team's management is eager to put him through his paces. Iyer is 99 percent ready, according to Captain Rohit Sharma.
"It (the three-match series) gives us an opportunity for some players who need game time," remarked India coach Rahul Dravid on the eve of the first of the three ODs, Iyer's presence in the XI is strongly suggested. Iyer's comeback appears assured, as does Ashwin's, whose experience is highly appreciated by team management.
"Having someone with Ashwin's experience and having him return is beneficial to us." Ashwin brings that experience, as well as the potential to contribute with the bat at No. 8. And (he is) someone we have always considered in the event of an injury or a new opportunity. "I know he hasn't played much one-day cricket recently, but someone with his experience can do very well," Dravid added.
""He is playing 50-over cricket for the first time in a long time. We know his quality, so it's not a trial for him, but it is an opportunity to see him play in this format and play many games in this style. We simply want to provide him with the option to do so.
Suryakumar Yadav's ODI record has fallen short of his Twenty20 exploits, prompting concerns about his preparedness for the format. He will, however, be tested in the three One-Day Internationals, with no worries about being left out of the World Cup squad on October 27, as teams have until that day to make changes.
"I don't think he needs to be concerned about the deadline on the 27th." We've chosen our World Cup team, and Surya is on it. We took the decision to do so, and we fully supported him. We support him because we have seen certain qualities and abilities in him.
"Yes, we've seen it in T20 cricket right now, but we know the kind of impact a player like him can make batting at No. 6." He has the ability to alter the outcome of a game. So we've entirely endorsed him, and we've been quite open about it. He is someone who will receive these three games - at least the first two - in order to improve and evolve as a one-day cricketer. But in terms of choosing, we've already made our choice."
Regarding the decision to rest senior players such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Hardik Pandya for the first two games of the current series, Dravid stated, "From our perspective, it's really important that we get people like Virat and Rohit to that first game of the World Cup physically and mentally in the space that they want to be in." They know how to prepare themselves at this level because of the amount of cricket they've played. And a lot of these decisions are made in consultation with them in an effort to get all of our players...obviously not just the two of them, but the senior and more experienced men have routines and know what they're doing need to get into that first game just in the right frame of mind.
"As a result, many of these decisions are made in consultation with them." We spoke with them about how they want to prepare for major events like the World Cup. We came to some joint conclusions on concluding that these two games were probably good games for them to take off, more for mental refreshment than anything else. "And then we'll return to Rajkot, and it'll be a tough couple of months for us," the coach remarked.
The matches in the series will begin at 1:30 p.m., while the World Cup's remaining day-night matchups will begin at 2 p.m.