In u-turn, R Ashwin named in India’s 13 for Sydney Test
Will he, won't he? Speculation abounds regarding R Ashwin. © AFP

In a dramatic u-turn taken by the BCCI, it has emerged that R Ashwin will be assessed before the toss on Thursday morning to see if he can slot into India’s XI for the Sydney Test against Australia.

The BCCI announced this a little over an hour after Virat Kohli  told reporters Wednesday at the SCG that Ashwin had been ruled out and not considered for selection.

Ashwin, who missed the second and third Tests on account of an abdominal strain, had reportedly failed a fitness test but was later named in India’s 13.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s had two niggles that are quite similar in the last couple of away tours,” said Kohli during the pre-match press conference. “It’s something he will focus on to correct. The physio and trainer have spoken to him about what he has to do. He’s very important in Test cricket, he’s a vital part of the team. We need him to be 100 per cent fit. He’s very disappointed he hasn’t recovered in time.”

Not long afterwards, a BCCI release naming India’s squad of 13 for the SCG Test stated that “the team management will take a final decision on R Ashwins availability on the morning of the Test match”.

Ravindra Jadeja, who played the third Test at the MCG where he took five wickets, Kuldeep Yadav and Hanuma Vihari are the other spin-bowling options for India on an SCG pitch that is expected to take turn.

Umesh Yadav has also been named in the 13, taking the place of Ishant Sharma for the final Test. Ishant played all three Tests and claimed 11 wicket at 23.81 apiece. Umesh took Ashwin’s place as the fourth fast bowler in Perth, where India lost, and managed two wickets in 37 overs.

Also named is KL Rahul, who was dropped for the MCG Test that India won. Vihari opened with the debutant Mayank Agarwal, scoring 8 off 66 balls and 13 off 45.

With Rohit Sharma back in India for the birth of his daughter, India could bring back Rahul as opener and push Vihari back to No 6 where he batted in Perth.

India’s 13 for SCG Test: Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane (v/c), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav