Ashwin Out? Rahul Back? India’s Selection Conundrum for SCG Test

India vs Australia India Name 13 Man Squad For Sydney Test Ravichandran Ashwin Doubtful

Australia: Tim Paine (capt & wk), Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Peter Handscomb, Peter Siddle. Interestingly, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav, the other two spinners in the squad of 18, were also included in the thirteen.

Senior paceman Ishant Sharma has been ruled out due to discomfort in his left ribcage, with speedster Umesh Yadav in the frame if Ashwin is unavailable.

Ahead of the fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Australian President Scott Morrison hosted both teams at his residence the Kirribilli House in Sydney, on the New Year's Day. But they have done it this time around.

"We have already started getting fruits from our programme and I am sure very soon we'll be providing players to Pakistan's national cricket team". "We know how good a player of spin he is".

Selectors have no qualms with using Khawaja as an opener.

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. That's one of the discussions we'll be having today, if we think India will go that way and if they are, are we prepared to bring him back in.

Tim Paine has been somewhat critical of the pitch at Sydney Cricket Ground, claiming it does not suit their bowlers as much as it should which suggests it will not play particularly fast, but they remain reliant on their pacemen once again and there is no chance of any changes to his bowling unit unless there are any injury concerns that have not been disclosed.

As per a report by Cricket Australia, Ashwin, who was not fit enough to take part in the Boxing Day Test match, took part in a solo session in the indoor centre facilities under the supervision of team physiotherapist Patrick Farhart and another support staff member.

"Whilst there is going to be times that Mitch is going to go out and have to score runs at No 6 from 4-60, you'd hope he isn't going in then as often as he is at the moment under that sort of scrutiny", Paine said.

Despite the absence of two of their most prolific run-scorers - Steve Smith and David Warner, the duo that had scored almost 40% of the team's total during India's visit to Australia in 2014 - credit must be given to Kohli's men if they go on to win the ongoing series, considering the history attached to the encounters between the two teams.

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