India skipper Virat Kohli said he was "very disappointed" Ashwin was set to miss the final match of the series but barely an hour later, the spinner's name was included on the squad list tweeted by the BCCI. India are anything but.
Barring an overnight change of thinking, the shock move would enable the Australian hierarchy to tinker with the batting line-up without a dramatic overhaul that would unsettle the team with only three tests left until the Ashes.
Rohit Sharma, who has returned home following the birth of his first child, and Ishant Sharma have been omitted from the XI that retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy in Melbourne. "He is now being assessed", read the statement from BCCI.
With the pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav, the two spinners will in all likelihood bamboozle the Australian batsmen. This time, while there are form and injuries for the players to worry about, all of those negatives have been practically drowned out by the fact that India might actually win this.
But he pledged that Australia would still pick the "best XI that we think is the best combination to win this Test" once they had seen the Sydney pitch.
It was at the SCG three years ago, in 2015, that Kohli took over the reins of the team full time after MS Dhoni announced his shock retirement from Test cricket. When Kohli addressed the media, it seemed to be written in black and white that Ashwin would not feature.
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"Well, it's unfortunate that Ashwin has had two niggles quite similar in the last couple of away tours (England and now Australia)".
"It is obviously a disappointment for us as a team and for him personally".
"The physio and trainer have spoken to him about what he has to do". "He is very important for sure. You can't really predict an injury when it happens, you can just manage it", he added.
What's more, Kohli explained how India's plans were disrupted when a key player such as Ashwin got injured in the middle of a series and was unavailable for selection.
"The Ashwin factor, it does make you alter your plans a little bit".
"We know how good a cricketer he is, he's really skilled in all facets of the game", Paine said. But Vihari was bowling attractive whenever he got the ball.
"We are looking at him as a solid bowling option right now, especially in this Test".