India’s cricketing panorama is bustling with excitement and anticipation as the country basks inside the glory of their current Asia Cup victory. However, the party is not without its proportion of worries, particularly with regard to the approaching ICC World Cup 2023. The Men in Blue, known for their cricketing prowess, are navigating a few hurdles as they aim to clinch another prestigious title.
India’s journey towards the ICC World Cup 2023 took an unexpected turn when Axar Patel, a vital cog in the team’s balance, suffered an injury during a crucial clash against Bangladesh. This injury ruled him out of the finals against Sri Lanka, leaving the team in search of a spin-bowling all-rounder as backup. Axar Patel’s absence in the finals underscored the importance of having a reliable alternative in the squad.
To address this void, the Indian team management called upon Washington Sundar, a talented spin-bowling all-rounder who has showcased his prowess in various formats. However, despite his inclusion, Washington Sundar did not get an opportunity to display his skills in the finals, both with the ball and the bat. This raised questions about the team’s strategy and the need for a reliable spin-bowling all-rounder on standby.
Amidst the deliberations regarding the spin-bowling all-rounder slot, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma provided a cryptic hint during a post-match conference. He mentioned that there are several contenders for the role, including R. Ashwin, with whom he has been in regular contact. This remark ignited speculations about Ashwin’s potential late inclusion in the 15-member squad for the ICC World Cup 2023.
In the post-match conference, Rohit remarked, “For the spin bowling all-rounder slot, there are many people in line. R Ashwin is also there, as I am regularly talking to Ashwin over the phone. Along with Ash, there is Axar and Washington too.”
R. Ashwin’s case is particularly intriguing due to his unconventional return to the ODI format. Having last played an ODI 18 months ago against South Africa in January 2022, his sudden emergence as a candidate for the World Cup raises eyebrows. However, Ashwin’s exceptional skills as an off-spinner and his ability to contribute with the bat make him a unique prospect.
One of the key reasons behind India’s interest in Ashwin for the spin-bowling all-rounder role is his ability to contribute effectively with the bat. In modern ODI cricket, having depth in the batting order is crucial, and the No.8 position often requires someone who can not only consolidate but also accelerate the scoring when needed. Ashwin’s proficiency with the willow adds a valuable dimension to the team’s lower order.