India vs Australia 2017: Ravichandran Ashwin opens up on his omission from ODI and T20I teams
What's the story?
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has played down the selectors' decision to overlook him for the two white-ball formats. Insisting that he has not been fretting over his omission, the 31-year old all rounder backed himself to reclaim his spot in the Indian ODI and T20I teams.
In a candid chat with The Hindu, Ashwin affirmed, "I am not desperate at all. One day, the opportunity will come knocking on my door because I haven’t done too much wrong. So when I get the opportunity and when I am put in an occasion, I will probably try and raise my game to the best of my ability."
When probed on his limited-overs future with the Indian team, the wily cricketer enthused, "This is some sort of difficult question to answer because I don’t know if it’s a comeback at all. And I am sure comebacks are not going to be easy."
Following a below-par performance in the 2017 edition of Champions Trophy wherein he managed only a solitary wicket from 3 matches at a miserable average of 167, Ashwin's prowess with the white ball began to come under intense scrutiny.
Even though he bowled reasonably well in the ODI series in West Indies series, the selectors turned to the wrist-spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav for the limited-overs assignments in Sri Lanka and against Australia at home.
The heart of the matter
Although India's selection committee referred to the decision to exclude both Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from the recent limited-overs series as 'rest', it has been quite apparent that they have moved past the finger-spinning duo for both ODIs and T20Is.
Instead of pondering over his exclusion, Ashwin decided to enhance his game by playing County cricket for Worcestershire. He picked up 20 wickets from 4 matches at an impressive average of 29.15 with two five-wicket hauls and played a key role in propelling the club to the division two title as well as the accompanying promotion to division one for next season.
Ashwin is currently playing for Tamil Nadu in the 2017/18 Ranji Trophy season. In the ongoing fixture against Andhra Pradesh at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, the off-spinner picked up four wickets in the first innings.
He is likely to be available for Tamil Nadu's second match against Tripura at the same venue between 14th and 17th.
With Kuldeep and Chahal forming a wicket-taking spin partnership for India, Ashwin's white-ball future appears to be in major jeopardy. Having made it clear that he is raring to take the field in the limited-overs formats too, it remains to be seen if the selectors respond in kind and offer a comeback opportunity for him during the upcoming home series (3 ODIs and 3 T20Is) against New Zealand.