R Ashwin was supposed to lead India A in the Deodhar Trophy. © BCCI

R Ashwin was supposed to lead India A in the Deodhar Trophy. © BCCI

Less than 24 hours after naming R Ashwin as skipper of the India A team for the Deodhar Trophy 50-over tournament, India’s senior selection panel was left red-faced when it transpired on Wednesday (February 28) that the India offspinner has a niggle that will prevent him from playing the tournament starting in Dharamsala on March 4.

India A and India B will lock horns with Karnataka, the winners of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, for the Prof DB Deodhar Trophy, originally an inter-zonal 50-over competition.

However fanciful, It had been construed in many quarters when Ashwin was named the India A skipper on Tuesday that the first tentative steps had been taken towards his potential rehabilitation as a white-ball international.

MSK Prasad’s band of selectors, who have made some curious calls in recent times, should have ascertained the availability of the experienced Ashwin before naming him for the Deodhar Trophy. Perhaps, if they wanted Ashwin to play at the domestic level, the Irani Cup against Vidarbha, the Ranji Trophy champions, in Nagpur from March 14 would have been a more prudent option in that case. Not only would it have meant Ashwin was niggle-free, it would also have been in keeping with his recent identity as a red-ball exponent.

A release from the Board of Control for Cricket in India did not state the nature of the injury, only referring to it as a ‘niggling issue’ and that the BCCI medical team has ‘advised him a week’s rest’. However, the situation isn’t serious by any stretch of the imagination. It remains to be seen if Prasad’s panel rejigs the Rest of India squad to facilitate Ashwin’s inclusion for the Irani Cup.

In Ashwin’s absence, Ankit Bawne moves across from India B to lead India A. Shahbaz Nadeem, the experienced left-arm spinner from Jharkhand, replace the offie in India A while Akshdeep Nath, the right-hand batsman from Uttar Pradesh, moves over to the India B side.

The revised squads:

India A: Ankit Bawne (capt), Prithvi Shaw, Unmukt Chand, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shubman Gill, Ricky Bhui, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Krunal Pandya, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Basil Thampi, Kulwant Khejroliya, Amandeep Khare, Rohit Rayudu.

India B: Shreyas Iyer (capt), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Akshdeep Nath, Manoj Tiwary, Siddhesh Lad, KS Bharat (wk), Jayant Yadav, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, G Hanuma Vihari, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, Harshal Patel, Umesh Yadav, Rajat Patidar.