Ashwin to miss West Indies series; Rohit fit to lead

Ashwin is unavailable for selection for the upcoming white ball series against the West Indies. Sources within the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have revealed to Cricbuzz that the seasoned spinner, who has now sealed his position in all formats of the game, is undergoing treatment and will miss the series, starting on February 6.

The selection for the six matches - three ODIs and as many Twenty20 Internationals against Kieron Pollard's side - was expected to take place on Tuesday itself (January 25) but had to be put off due to the unavailability of coach Rahul Dravid and a couple of selectors, who have travelled for almost 24 hours to reach India from South Africa. The selection committee meeting may now take place in the next two days.

Cricbuzz understands that Ashwin's recent recall into the white ball teams (since the T20 WC in October-November, 2021), is a long-term strategy, done with the 2022 Twenty20 WC and the 2023 ODI WC in mind. In fact, his integration into the limited overs formats has taken place with all concerned - captain Rohit Sharma, coach Rahul Dravid and selectors - taking a collective call on the need for the experience and expertise of the veteran.

The think tank has also decided to manage his workload in regular intervals so that he is not missed for the major tournaments. However, his expected absence from the West Indies series is because of treatment which will keep him out for three weeks. He should be back for the Sri Lanka series in February-March.

Meanwhile, Rohit is expected to take his appointed place at the helm of the ODI and T20I sides. BCCI sources have confirmed to this website that he has recovered fully and is ready to lead. It would be his first series as the full time ODI skipper after he was left out of the South Africa series because of a hamstring injury.

The same, however, cannot be said with certainty about Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya. Jadeja was recently seen bowling and batting normally at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore but his selection will depend on the fitness report from the NCA physios. Pandya, it is learnt, is still not fully fit.

Most other regulars are apparently available for selection and that includes former skipper Virat Kohli who, it is learnt, has not sought any rest for the series until now. However, the selectors, as part of their workload management policy, may leave out some key players by drafting in a few new faces. Spearhead Jasprit Bumrah could be the one to be given rest but his new ball partner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, may struggle to make it to the ODI squad.

The ODIs will be played in Ahmedabad on February 6, 9 and 11 and the T20Is will be in Kolkata, on February 16, 18 and 20.

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