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Intrigue builds over injured India spinner

Ravichandran Ashwin's battle to prove his fitness for the SCG Test remains ongoing, with the tourists performing a u-turn and insisting he remains in the mix.

Intrigue builds over injured India spinner

Ravichandran Ashwin's battle to prove his fitness for the SCG Test remains ongoing, with the tourists performing a u-turn and insisting he remains in the mix.

RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN and RISHABH PANT of India celebrate getting a wicket of the First Test match in the series between Australia and India in Adelaide, Australia.
RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN and RISHABH PANT of India celebrate getting a wicket of the First Test match in the series between Australia and India in Adelaide, Australia. Picture:Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

India are engaging in mind games on the eve of the fourth Test, publicly drawing a line through Ravichandran Ashwin's name then including the injured star in a 13-man squad.

Ashwin, opener KL Rahul, left-arm tweaker Kuldeep Yadav and Umesh Yadav are in the mix to be recalled for the SCG series finale.


Rohit Sharma, who has returned home following the birth of his first child, and Ishant Sharma have been omitted from the XI that retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy in Melbourne.

India announced prior to Virat Kohli's press conference that Ashwin, who has been sidelined with a side strain since the first Test, would not be considered for selection in Sydney.

Two hours later, the tourists preformed a u-turn and insisted Ashwin could yet return as he will be assessed on Thursday morning.

It's unclear what or who is to blame for the miscommunication or misdiagnosis.

But it's worth nothing that Tim Paine, when asked about the fake news that was Ashwin failing a fitness test, offered a frank response.

"That's good news. I saw him bowl yesterday and he was batting in Melbourne, so I'm surprised he's not playing," Paine told reporters.

"Conditions here would have suited him really nicely.

"Normally it spins quite a bit and with his height, he would've been a handful.

"So I think some of our batters will be pretty happy to hear that news.

"But we know they've got some other spinners in their squad, Kuldeep is younger but got some serious talent and (Ravindra) Jadeja did the job for them in Melbourne."

Rahul, who was dumped after struggling in the first two Tests, is set to claim Rohit Sharma's place in the team.

Recalling Rahul would allow Hanuma Vihari, who failed to fire in Melbourne after being promoted to open, to return to the middle order.

The tourists may be tempted to promote Kuldeep Yadav, who is mentored by Brad Hogg and notably bamboozled Australia on Test debut in Dharamsala last year, but Kohli gave a ringing endorsement of Vihari's offspin.

"The fact that Vihari has bowled beautifully whenever we've given him the ball, makes us feel absolutely calm about Ashwin not being able to play," Kohli said.

"It is obviously a disappointment for us as a team and for him personally.

"But the way Vihari has bowled, he has looked like picking up a wicket whenever he comes on to bowl.

"We are looking at him as a solid bowling option right now, especially in this Test."

India's 13-man squad for fourth Test: Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav.

AAP


AAP




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