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Rohit Sharma backs R Ashwin’s return despite lack of game time

The veteran spinner got a place in the squad after Axar Patel’s injury.

Aditya Kaushik




New Delhi: Ravichandran Ashwin has finally made a comeback into the white ball cricket after being called to the Indian squad for the upcoming ODI series against Australia.

Ashwin is called ‘The Professor,’ because of his creative cricketing mind and his nerves of still, as he possesses the ability to come up with unexpected ways to turn the game in his favour.

Whether, it is running Jos Buttler out on the non-striker end, or forcing Md. Nawaz to bowl a wide with his quick footwork, in the 2022 T20 World Cup, when India required 2 off 1 ball to win.

This strong mindset seems to be the reason for the off-spinner’s selection in the upcoming ODI series, despite only featuring in two ODI matches in the last six years.

Indian skipper, Rohit Sharma, in the squad announcement press conference, said, “With the kind of experience Ashwin has, he has played close to 100 Tests (94), close to 150 ODIs (113). Yes, it was all in the past, but he has been consistently playing Test cricket. With guys like Ashwin, having time on the ground is not so much of a concern, which is why we thought if he’s an option, we need to get him in. But with the kind of experience he has, for guys like him, it’s all in the head more than the body.”

Rohit further added, “So, we made the decision of speaking to him, understanding where he’s at with his body. It’s not like he’s not been playing cricket. Yes, he hasn’t played the format, but he’s been playing. He played in the West Indies, and played in TNPL – no comparison, but still some cricket. Games here against Australia will give us a chance to look where he’s at, how he’s bowling, how his body is feeling.”

Notably, Ashwin so far has featured in 113 ODI matches for India, while taking 151 wickets in the process. He last played an ODI against South Africa last year, where he went wicketless.

Ashwin is also known for his comprehensive batting down to the order that can strengthen India’s batting order.

Ashwin will try to make the most of this chance he has been given as if the World Cup-bound Axar Patel fails to recover in time, he can be named his replacement in the 15-member squad.

India squad for the first two ODIs:

KL Rahul (captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, R Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, J Bumrah, M Siraj, M Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar

Indian squad for 3rd ODI:

Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, R Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, J Bumrah, M Siraj, M Shami, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel (subject to fitness), R Ashwin, Washington Sundar