Former India captain and chief of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar has advocated for the inclusion of out-of-favour Ravichandran Ashwin in the limited-overs set-up.
Dilip Vengsarkar praises Ravichandran Ashwin
Once a regular across formats, Ashwin has now been reduced to a red-ball specialist for India but with India struggling on spin front as far as white-ball cricket goes, the calls for bringing back the veteran have only grown in recent times.
Take for example the recently concluded three-match ODI series against England. Kuldeep Yadav had a nightmare of the series and was dropped after two wicketless, expensive outings while Yuzvendra Chahal wasn’t even given one match. Allrounder Krunal Pandya made waves but only with the bat.
Vengsarkar says had he been the chief selector, Ashwin would be back playing limited-overs cricket for India. “If I were the chief selector, I would have brought Ashwin back,” Vengsarkar told The Indian Express.
“Why not? Because he is such an experienced bowler and he has variety. As they say, spinners mature late and he has done so well over the years. He is in terrific form in red ball cricket. I think it will suit the team if he is brought back.”
Recently, India captain Virat Kohli had taken exception to a query as to why Ashwin, despite being a consistent performer in Test cricket, continues to be ignored for ODIs and T20Is.
“Washington (Sundar) has been doing really well for us. So you cannot have two players of the same discipline, playing in one spot. So unless Washy has a drastically horrible season and things go south for him (this will not happen),” Kohli had said earlier this month.
But Vengsarkar disagrees with Virat Kohli arguing Sundar is no away closer to Ashwin when taken purely as a bowler.
“Washington Sundar is no match if you compare him with Ashwin purely as a bowler. Where is the comparison?” Vengsarkar said.
He even said that it’s possible for Sundar and Ashwin to coexist. “In the ODIs, when the spinners bowl, their job is to get wickets in the middle overs. If they fail to get wickets, then the opposition can score a huge total, with wickets in hand. So basically Ashwin’s job will be to get wickets and he is good at that,” the 64-year-old explained.
“The variety he has, he would be a very good attacking option and very few can match his variety. As far as spinners are concerned, you don’t contain the batsmen (in this format), especially in the middle overs,” he added.