Ashwin links up with India Test squad in Leicester

In welcome news for the Indians, premier offspinner R Ashwin joined the Test squad in Leicester, having recovered from Covid-19. What remains to be confirmed, though, is whether Ashwin, who reached Leicester on Wednesday, will feature in the four-day warm-up match, which started on Thursday between the visitors and Leicestershire.
Ashwin failed to depart for England last week with the rest of the squad, having tested positive for Covid-19. This morning, he joined the Indians at the ground in his whites, but his name did not feature on any of the team sheets, finalised on Wednesday. The match is being played as a 13-a-side game.

Ashwin’s presence will boost the Indian camp based on his vast experience of playing in England, including featuring for two clubs in county cricket. Ashwin, who is second on the ICC’s Test bowlers rankings as well as third on the allrounders’ list, was part of the Indian squad for the first four Tests of the Pataudi Trophy last year, but did not get to play as the then team management preferred Ravindra Jadeja as the primary spin allrounder.

Ashwin could still be on contention for rescheduled one-off Test starting at Edgbaston from July 1 in case the conditions support two spinners. Ashwin’s numbers in county cricket, where he has featured for Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire, are impressive: he has 61 wickets at an average 25.32 and has scored 553 runs at an average of nearly 37.

Meanwhile the quartet of Cheteshwar Pujara, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant and Prasidh Krishna turned up as part of the Leicester team this morning. The arrangement to allow the Indians to be part of the hosts’ team was reached to allow all the visiting players to test their match fitness and workloads. The game, a 13-a-side affair, is the only practice match the Indians are playing ahead of the Test next week.

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