Ravichandran Ashwin, who has featured in 111 ODIs and 46 T20Is, besides 77 Tests, has been out of India’s limited-overs side for a few years now. He last featured in an ODI game in June 2017.
The 34-year-old played a vital role in India’s historic Test series win in Australia earlier this year. During the third Test against England last month, he became the fourth Indian to complete 400 wickets in red-ball cricket.
Now, a day after the Indian spinners got smashed to all parts of the ground in the second ODI at Pune, former chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar said he would have brought Ashwin back into the white-ball set up if he was presently the selection committee chairman.
“If I were the chief selector (now), I would have brought Ashwin back (to the white ball set-up). Why not? Because he is such an experienced bowler and he has variety. As they say, spinners mature late and he has done so well over the years. He is in terrific form in red ball cricket. I think it will suit the team if he is brought back,” Vengsarkar told The Indian Express.
While Yuzvendra Chahal hasn’t been given a chance in the ongoing ODI series, Kuldeep Yadav proved to be too expensive for the Indian team in last two games.
According to captain Virat Kohli, his limited-overs squad has off-spinner Washington Sundar who is doing well. In fact, Kohli seemed a little annoyed when asked about Ashwin’s return to white-ball cricket.
“Washington has been doing really well for us. So you cannot have two players of the same discipline, playing in one spot. So unless Washy has a drastically horrible season and things go south for him (this will not happen),” Kohli had said ahead of the T20I series opener against England..
Responding to Kohli’s statement, Vengsarkar said: “Washington Sundar is no match if you compare him with Ashwin purely as a bowler. Where is the comparison? Players of ‘the same discipline’, however, have featured in the Indian squad before the Ravindra Jadeja-Axar Patel combo was a case in point. So why not Washington and Ashwin? “Yeah, absolutely. In the ODIs, when the spinners bowl, their job is to get wickets in the middle overs.
“If they fail to get wickets, then the opposition can score a huge total, with wickets in hand. So basically, Ashwin’s job will be to get wickets and he is good at that. The variety he has, he would be a very good attacking option and very few can match his variety. As far as spinners are concerned, you don’t contain the batsmen (in this format), especially in the middle overs,” Vengsarkar added.