Why world No.1 bowler Siraj is not playing in India vs Australia 1st ODI at Mohali
Siraj has not been keeping well for the last couple of days and the Indian team management decided not to risk their star pacer for the 1st ODI vs Australia.
Mohammed Siraj missed the first ODI against Australia at the PCA Stadium in Mohali due to a minor issue with his health. Though India stand-in captain KL Rahul did not provide any official update on Siraj at the time of the toss, former India all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, on Jio Cinema, said that Siraj has not been keeping well for the last couple of days and the Indian team management decided not to risk their star pacer for the series opener on Friday. "Siraj has been under the weather for the last couple of days. That's why the management did not risk him," said Nayar.
Before the toss, former India opener Aakash Chopra had also confirmed that Siraj is unlikely to play because he was not present during the pre-match warm-ups. Siraj did not participate in India's only practice session on Thursday before the Australia series.
However, there is no real cause for concern about the No.1-ranked ODI bowler. It was more of a precautionary measure not to include him for the first ODI, keeping the World Cup in mind. Siraj might not have practiced with the team since the Asia Cup but he was seen in a jolly mood during the pre-series photoshoot with the rest of the Indian cricketers.
Siraj, who reclaimed the top spot in ICC ODI rankings after his record-breaking performance in the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka, is an integral part of India's World Cup plans. Siraj ran through the Sri Lankan batting line-up, registering figures of 6/21 to bowl them out for 50 in what turned out to be the most one-sided Asia Cup final ever.
The man replacing Siraj is Mohammed Shami. India have been forced to keep him out of the XI because of the combination they are going in with. "We are talking about Shami because he is back but we have to remember that he is a top bowler. Not too long ago, he was India's best pacer. So that's not a bad replacement to have," said Abhishek Nayar.
Ashwin returns in ODIs after a long time
Following its win in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka last week, India made changes to its full-strength side keeping the World Cup in mind.
KL Rahul, who recently returned from a long-term leg injury, will lead the side for the first two matches.
Veteran off-spinner R Ashwin has made a comeback to the ODI XI after 20 months. Ruturaj Gaikwad will open the batting in the absence of Rohit while Shreyas Iyer will bat at No.3 in place of Kohli.
Australia, meanwhile, arrives in India following a 3-2 ODI series loss in South Africa. It was leading 2-0 before losing three games in a row.
Australia has brought its full-strength squad to India. Captain Pat Cummins is back in charge, with Steve Smith also returning ahead of the World Cup.
India XI: Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (c/wk), Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami
Australia XI: David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Short, Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Adam Zampa