Tim Paine's team must win the fourth Test, which starts on Thursday, or they will become the first Australian side to suffer a series loss at home to India.
"If you ask me very honestly, no", he said when asked if the possibility of being the first to win a Test series in Australia is playing on the team's mind.
But the Board of Control for Cricket in India released a 13-man squad, including Ashwin and excluding paceman Ishant Sharma, two hours later and said it would be trimmed before the toss.
If you are an Indian fan, it might be surreal to believe that India are 2-1 up in series Down Under.
"A decision on R Ashwin's availability will be taken on the morning of the Test", it said ahead of what is expected to be turning wicket at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
"It's just team balance really", Paine told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday, with his side desperate to prevent Virat Kohli's men from becoming the first India team to win in a Test series in Australia.
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Umesh Yadav is the third seamer named in the bowling lineup, after he was a surprise inclusion in the XI for the second Test in Perth.
Dwelling on his obsession to win overseas, Kohli said, "The reason I said it has to be an obsession to win away from home is because you can not afford to be negative even for a single minute, a single day on tour".
Ashwin's fitness puzzle isn't the only spin-related question staring at the Indian think-tank. The physio and the trainer have spoken to him in terms of what's required in order to get over that injury.
"He's very important for sure". But Vihari was bowling lovely whenever he got the ball. "But the fact that Vihari has bowled beautifully whenever we've given him the ball makes us feel absolutely calm about Ashwin not being able to play", said Kohli.
Labuschagne batted at No 6 in his debut series in the UAE but has cut his teeth in state ranks at first drop on the Gabba, the country's bounciest and most pace-friendly pitch. Sydney, though, has not been a happy ground for India as they have lost five of the 11 Tests played here and managed to win just one way back in 1978.
Hanuma Vihari filled in as the opener in Melbourne alongside debutant Mayank Agarwal but Rohit's absence could see him drop back to the middle order with Rahul taking his spot at the top of the order.