“Ashwin is a quality bowler, but remember…’: Senior Indian Spinner Gives Strict Warning On Ashwin’s ODI Return Ahead Of 2023 World Cup

If you’ve been following the buzz in the cricketing world, you’d know more chatter about Ravichandran Ashwin’s surprising return to ODI cricket than about the upcoming India-Australia series. Ashwin, the seasoned spin maestro, has been called back into the ODI squad after a long hiatus, and cricket pundits and fans are abuzz with speculations about the reason behind this strategic move.

India’s spin-bowling all-rounder options have been limited, and Ashwin undoubtedly stands among the finest in the world, but mainly in the Test arena. Surprisingly, his prowess in limited-overs cricket remains somewhat underrated, largely due to the lack of opportunities in recent years. However, India has often turned to Ashwin as their crisis solver when the going gets tough, especially in World Cups.

So, why is Ashwin back in the picture for ODIs? It all boils down to the trust factor. Captain Rohit Sharma has acknowledged that what he primarily relies on Ashwin for is his wealth of experience. The Indian team aims to tap into that experience as they test his abilities in the upcoming series against Australia, with Axar Patel sidelined due to an injury.

Amit Mishra, a seasoned expert with broadcasters JioCinema & Sports18, weighed in on Ashwin’s return during a virtual media interaction. While he lauded Ashwin as a “quality bowler and a wicket-taker,” Mishra raised a pertinent issue: the role of fielding in ODI cricket. In addition to bowling 10 overs, players in this format must spend 40 overs on the field and be prepared to bat if necessary.

Mishra emphasized that Ashwin’s absence from ODIs has primarily been due to concerns about his fielding and his right-handed batting style, which differs from Axar and Ravindra Jadeja, both left-handers.

“Ashwin is undoubtedly a quality bowler and a wicket-taker, but remember, this is not a 20-over game. It is of 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, but there is that matter of fielding, which is why a young player might be picked. The only reason he has been picked is that if a spinner gets injured, the team needs to have a wicket-taking option, which Ashwin brings. Ashwin has an edge as an off-spin option, as India already has two left-arm spinners and a wrist-spinner in Kuldeep Yadav,” he said.

The Indian team’s decision to bring back Ashwin underscores their quest for a reliable wicket-taking option. Ashwin’s off-spin provides a valuable alternative to India’s left-arm spinners and wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav. 

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“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 on the team is because of his fielding and right-handed batting ability. 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, which holds importance in ODIs,” he added.

In addition to Ashwin’s return, Washington Sundar, the star all-rounder, has also been retained in the lineup. Sundar stepped in as a replacement for Axar Patel in the final of the Asia Cup but didn’t feature in the game. Ashwin and Sundar are vying for a place in the XI for the first two matches before Axar’s return for the third tie.

Mishra believes that the pitch conditions will dictate the choice between Ashwin and Sundar. “It will depend on the wicket. If the wicket is dry, Ashwin will be picked, or Sundar, who also gives the edge with his fielding abilities,” he asserted.

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