Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammad Shami wait for India comeback chance in World Cup

Off-spinner played key role in first match against Australia while veteran quick is yet to feature in tournament

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, left, might have to wait for his chance to play again in the 2023 World Cup. AP
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India are unwilling to make many changes to their playing XI when they face Bangladesh in their World Cup match in Pune on Thursday, wary of disrupting a winning combination and also of the spate of upsets in the tournament.

Rohit Sharma's team have won their first three games of the World Cup, including big wins over Australia and Pakistan.

However, Afghanistan have altered the course of the tournament after stunning defending champions England in New Delhi, before the Netherlands handed South Africa their first defeat at this World Cup in Dharamsala on Tuesday.

Hosts India, therefore, are likely to play it safe against the Tigers, who have held the upper hand against them in recent white-ball matches.

"When you enter a World Cup, every team will pose you a challenge," bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said.

"From our perspective, I don't think we'll take any team lightly. Be it Bangladesh or Netherlands, we want to treat every game equally. Every game for us is important, every opponent for us is important."

That means experienced seamer Mohammed Shami and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin could remain on the sidelines.

Ashwin played the first match against the Aussies, picking up 1-34 in 10 overs to set up victory.

"He [Ashwin] has been a great lad," said Mhambrey. "He understands that, he's a great team guy.

"I've never seen him grumpy; I haven't seen him complaining any time for any of the last few years that he's been with us.

"Even after so many years, I think he's there, he wants to do well for the team, he turns up every practice session, goes through the rigorous grinds and he keeps bowling."

What has allowed India to continue with their current attack is the form of their spinners and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah.

Bumrah, 29, has taken eight wickets in three matches at a meagre average of just over 10, maintaining top pace and control.

"You have seen him in the last three games that he has played," Mhambrey added in Pune.

"What he brings to the table –- he is a world-class bowler. He gives you that breakthrough that you require in the power plays.

"He's well adapted to bowl in the middle overs and he's a top-gun 'death' bowler. I think in that sense, we really missed him."

Meanwhile, Bangladesh have lost their last two matches at the World Cup after starting with a six-wicket win over Afghanistan.

However, they have a great record against India in the subcontinent, having won three of their last four ODIs.

Bangladesh defeated India by six runs when the teams met in the Asia Cup in Colombo last month, with Mhambrey highlighting the quality of Bangladesh fast bowler Taskin Ahmed and star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.

Updated: October 18, 2023, 4:18 PM