T20 World Cup: Rohit Sharma says ‘Ashwin in XI brought quality’, who actually kept him out of playing XI?

Will anyone make a bowler with 617 international wickets sit-out from the playing XI? How is anyone with 6.89 economy rate in BANG-BANG T20 Cricket over 47 matches doesn’t get to play a single T20I during a period of 4 years and 5 months – INDIAN CRICKET DID THAT & India’s vice-captain Rohit Sharma regrets that. But who and what kept Ravichandran Ashwin out of India’s Playing XI?

Ravichandran Ashwin did not figure in India’s White-Ball scheme of things for the last four years despite performing at every level. India opening batter and Vice-Captain Rohit Sharma said that everyone got to see the quality of Ravichandran Ashwin in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup game against Afghanistan.

“You saw his quality today. He’s a quality bowler, without a doubt. He’s played so much cricket now and taken so many wickets, obviously playing for India in limited-overs. He also knows that it was a challenge for him because he was playing after three or four years. But he was playing IPL consistently and he was bowling really well. He’s someone who’s a wicket-taking option. Any time you give him the ball, he comes to take wickets,” said Rohit during the post-match press conference.

Rohit’s comment came after India defeated Afghanistan by 66 runs to keep their hopes alive of making it to the semifinals. Ravichandran Ashwin made a comeback in the side and he returned with figures of 2/14 in his four overs, proving it was a wrong decision to keep him away from India’s Playing XI.

“He’s not there to survive or just to bowl his six balls and get away. He’s always looking to take wickets, and when you have someone like him in the sport and in the playing 11, it gives that advantage that you have someone in the middle who can take wickets. That’s the quality of him. He understands his bowling really well and has balled really well in IPL. He’s coming off from good form, as well, so I’m glad that he could contribute to our success today, and I hope he can do the same in the next few games that we play, as well,” Rohit Sharma added.

T20 World Cup: What kept Ashwin out of India’s Playing XI?

  • The emergence of wrist-spinners and their ability to take wickets in T20s sidelined finger spinners like Ashwin.
  • The likes of Yuzvednra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Rahul Chahar were given priority for their wrist-spin.
  • But the days of wrist-spin in Indian setup hasn’t yielded much success in T20 WC.
  • With Varun Chakaravarthy failing and Rahul Chahar out of form, Ashwin was called back in the playing XI.
  • InsideSport earlier reported that it was Rohit Sharma who argued for Ashwin’s inclusion even though Virat Kohli was not in his favour in T20s.
  • Furthermore, Ashwin’s mysterious absence from Playing XI in England Test series also attributed to a struggle between the captain and the spinner.
  • Ashwin with his bowling has proved he has much more to offer even in T20s.

India now need to win both its remaining games against Scotland and Namibia in keep their hopes alive. The Men in Blue would also hope to register comprehensive to further boost their net run rate.

R Ashwin celebrates with his team-mates, Afghanistan vs India, T20 World Cup, Group 2, Abu Dhabi, November 3, 2021

“Yeah, to be honest, it’s very much that kind of a situation for us. We know that if we lose any game from here on now, we are out of the tournament, so we have to win everything, and when you are in that kind of situation, you have to play fearlessly, not think too much about what is happening or what is happening elsewhere,” said Rohit.

“I think the approach today from everyone was different, and I wish it was in the first two games, as well, but it didn’t happen. But that can happen when you are on the road for a long time. Decision making sometimes can be a problem, and that is exactly what happened in the first two games. We are a very good team. It’s just that we were not good on that particular day against Pakistan and New Zealand. But yes, today the game we played, it’s pretty much sums it up that this is the kind of team we are, and when we play fearlessly, this is what we get,” he added.

In the game against Afghanistan, Rohit and KL Rahul scored 74 and 69 respectively and the duo shared an opening stand of 140 runs helping India post 210/2 in the allotted twenty overs.

“Yeah, I mean, firstly it was important for us to get off to a good start. If you talk about our batting, which didn’t happen in the first two games, that’s where we struggled a little bit to create that momentum in the first six overs, so there was a conscious effort. We were talking myself and KL, we were talking about it that we need to get the team a good start, and how we can do that is by playing our game, whatever that may be, however we want to play,” said Rohit.

“But yeah, we took our chances in the middle, and it came off, so that’s the whole game. You take your chances, it comes off, it comes off. If it doesn’t come off, you have to start again from the scratch. The batter who comes in has to start again from the scratch. We wanted to take some risks because it was important for us when the powerplay is going on, you try and make the best use of that, and we took our chances, and it came off,” he added.