Curated By: Aakash Biswas
Last Updated: September 21, 2023, 10:39 IST
Ravichandran Ashwin’s ODI return has become a huge talking point in the Indian cricket fraternity. The veteran off-spinner was named in India’s squad for the upcoming Australia ODIs, starting Friday in Mohali, as Axar Patel’s replacement, who was ruled out of the first two games of the 3-match series due to a quadriceps injury.
Ashwin stormed back into India’s ODI set-up after a hiatus of 20 months. He last played a 50-over game against South Africa in Paarl in January 2022 and interestingly, he has featured in just 2 ODIs in the last 6 years. At the same time, the board has named all-rounder Washington Sundar, who replaced Axar in the Asia Cup 2023 final, has retained his spot in the squad.
While the world of cricket remains divided over Ashwin’s return, senior Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra explained why the former has been away from ODIs for such a long time. An expert with broadcasters JioCinema & Sports18, the latter said Ashwin’s bowling was never a matter of concern but he has been inactive in the format due to his fielding.
“The Indian team will be looking at how Ashwin will be bowling against Australia, and to assess if he still has the wicket-taking abilities in this format. The only reason why he is not in the team is because of his fielding and right-handed batting ability,” Hindustan Times quoted Mishra as saying.
“Jadeja and Axar are both lefties. Washington is a young player and has shown wicket-taking abilities apart from being a batting option. Plus, he provides an advantage with his fielding, something which holds importance in ODIs,” he added.
Mishra further highlighted that Ashwin’s skills will be tested in the Australia series as he will be required to bowl 10 overs and field for 40. However, the latter’s presence will be available as a wicket-taking option if any other spinner in the team gets injured, Mishra further said.
“Ashwin is undoubtedly a quality bowler and a wicket-taker, but remember this is not a 20-over game. It is 50 overs. You have to bowl for 10 overs and field for 40 overs and might have to bat as well. No doubt he has been around for so long and has been a wicket-taker as well, but there is that matter of fielding as well and that is why a young player might be picked. The only reason he has been picked is because if a spinner gets injured, then the team needs to have a wicket-taking option, which Ashwin brings. Ashwin has got an edge as an off-spin option, as India already has two left-arm spinners and a wrist-spinner in Kuldeep Yadav,” he said.