New Delhi: Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is still very much in the running to be part of India's World Cup campaign despite being left out of the provisional squad, skipper Rohit Sharma said.
Kuldeep Yadav was picked as the lone specialist spinner in India's initial 15-member squad for the World Cup on home soil, along with spin-bowling all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel.
When Patel suffered an injury ahead of Sunday's Asia Cup final in Colombo India turned to Washington Sundar as a replacement, not 37-year-old Ashwin.
In the end, off-spinner Sundar did not get the chance to bowl as India bundled out Sri Lanka in 15.2 overs en route to a 10-wicket romp.
Rohit said Sundar's selection was in no way further proof that Ashwin, who played the last of his 113 one-day internationals in January 2022, had slipped down the pecking order.
"As a spinner all-rounder, Ashwin is in line. I have been talking to him on the phone," Rohit told reporters after India lifted the Asia Cup for the eighth time.
"The injury happened to Axar at the last minute. Washington was available, so he had to come and perform the role for us.
"He (Washington) was cricket-fit because he was part of the Asian Games camp.
"I have been very clear with players about their roles. Everyone is in the loop."
Teams can make changes to their squads until September 28.
While the victory was a timely boost ahead of the World Cup, batter Shreyas Iyer missed much of the Asia Cup, including the final, with a back spasm.
"Shreyas was not available for (the final) because certain parameters were kept for him to tick off," Rohit explained.
"I should say he is alright 99% as of now.
"He looks good, he batted and fielded for long hours (in the nets), and he was on the ground long before we came to the ground. I don't think it is a worry for us."
India host Australia in a three-match ODI series later this month and the teams clash again on October 8 in their World Cup opener in Chennai.