‘We have been looking at Kuldeep for the last one, one-and-a-half years; this is why we don’t want to expose him a lot.’

Rohit Sharma explained the reason for leaving out Kuldeep Yadav from India’s squad for the first two matches of the upcoming ODI series against Australia, saying the team management does not want to expose him before the ODI World Cup, starting October 5, and it is important to build bench strength.

The wrist spinner’s prowess was on display throughout the Asia Cup as he scalped nine wickets in five matches, at an average of 11.44 and economy of 3.61.

“Kuldeep is a rhythm bowler; we all know that, but we thought of a lot of things and took this call. His bowling is going well.

“Like Ajit [Agarkar] said, we had to give players a chance, especially those who played just one game at the Asia Cup and are in the World Cup squad,” said Rohit.

“We have been looking at Kuldeep for the last one, one-and-a-half years; this is why we don’t want to expose him a lot. He is coming back for the last match.

There are a lot of reasons. This is the best decision for us… to have him sit out for two games and play the third.

We also have two practice matches [before the World Cup opener], so for the bowling rhythm, he will be back in it,” he added.

The first of the three-ODI India-Australia series is on September 22, at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium. 

Regular captain Rohit, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli and Kuldeep Yadav were not named in the squad for the first two games. K L Rahul will lead the side.

Ravindra Jadeja was named vice-captain for the first two games, while Shreyas Iyer was ruled fit for the series.

India have a strong pace attack for the series, comprising Asia Cup final hero Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur and Prasidh Krishna.

India’s squad for first two ODIs vs Australia: K L Rahul (captain, w/k), Ravindra Jadeja (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (w/k), Shreyas Iyer, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Prasidh Krishna, Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar. 

India’s squad for 3rd ODI vs Australia: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, K L Rahul (w/k), Ishan Kishan (w/k), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel (subject to fitness), Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar.

India vs Australia schedule:

1st ODI: September 22, Mohali

2nd ODI: September 24, Indore

3rd ODI: September 27, Rajkot

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