Ravichandran Ashwin is a phenomenon of a performer in Test cricket. Without a doubt, he has been one of India’s major strike bowlers in the longest format of the gentleman’s game.
But his golden form in India’s whites has not always translated to limited over cricket. Compared to his incredible returns of 357 wickets from a mere 68 Test matches, Ashwin has 150 and 52 wickets from 111 ODIs and 46 T20Is.
The man from Tamil Nadu has not played for the Men in Blue since July 9, 2017. Since then, Indian cricket has seen a meteoric rise in its bowling and fielding standards, and Ashwin seems to have really had the tides turned against himself, though, not without any reason.
The exploits of the India’s new spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal over the past few years have seen the experienced duo of Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja get limited opportunities in limited overs cricket.
While Jadeja made a comeback of sorts in the recently-concluded 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, Ashwin’s involvement in white-ball cricket has been nil off late.
The fact that Ashwin is a finger spinner does not really help his case. Off spinners are vulnerable to big hitters, hitting across the line.
Captains have been increasingly preferring wrist spinners in the shorter format owing to their proclivity for picking up wickets, be it any surface or condition.
Moreover, even if Ashwin is a technically adept batsman in the longest format of the game, his ODI outings have not been effective. He is not an explosive batsman and his fielding lets him down terribly too.
With the likes of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja fighting it out mostly for that one all-rounder spot, there simply is no place for Ashwin, sadly enough.
Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad revealed that the need for a variety in spin bowling made the committee back the young spin duo.
“It is not that Ashwin was dropped. He was definitely doing a reasonably good job. But we actually wanted variety in our spin bowling department,” Prasad was quoted.
The younger lost have made use of the opportunities given to them, and as a result, Ashwin needs to amp up his domestic performances, to stand any chance of being picked in the shorter formats.
If anything, the World Cup disappointment will provoke selectors to maybe give Kuldeep and Chahal a break, and try out other alternatives like Rahul Chahar, Axar Patel, Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar.
Kuldeep and Chahal have in fact, done exceedingly well, so much so that the Indian captain, Virat Kohli has made up his mind that wrist spinners are the way forward.
“We always had in mind to bring wrist-spinners into play. We honestly did not think of playing two together, but they are so good together that it is tempting to play them every game together.”
“Also, we will have to see how much we expose certain bowlers who have played across formats; it’s a rhythm thing. With batsmen, it’s very different.”
“With bowlers, it’s even more difficult because you really need to change the way you bowl according to a format and that can hamper the most important format which is Test cricket for us.”
“It’s been a combination of both – giving guys chances as well as understanding the workloads of bowlers who have played for a while.”
“Ashwin and Jadeja have played for last six-seven years, played limited-overs cricket for us regularly. These youngsters have stepped up.”
“It creates a strong pool for us and contrary to a lot of things being said left, right and center, we understand the dynamics of the team going forward and that is something which will be hard to explain otherwise.”
“People only count results and right now we are getting results, so we are happy with it,” Kohli had said about Kuldeep and Chahal.
These statements reflect that it would be hard to see Ashwin making a comeback anytime soon.
And, we at CricWizz, also, do not think that the man from Tamil Nadu should not be getting a chance again in limited overs cricket, since it is high time that India looked ahead and picked promising youngsters.
Ravichandran Ashwin, meanwhile, should concentrate on his Test bowling more, and that will bode well for both the country and himself in the future that looks rosy enough for Indian cricket.