Ravichandran Ashwin has not featured in a limited-overs encounter since June 2017. Vengsarkar, however, has said that if he were the chief selector of the Indian team, Ravichandran Ashwin would have definitely been in the white-ball squads.
Dilip Vengsarkar, himself a former chief selector, told the Sunday Express that Ravichandran Ashwin’s maturity as a spinner merits his inclusion in the shorter formats.
“If I were the chief selector (now), I would have brought Ashwin back (to the white ball set-up). 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,” Vengsarkar opined.
The Indian spinners were hammered brutally in the second ODI against England, with Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya getting whacked to all parts of the ground. Meanwhile, Yuzvendra Chahal doesn’t even find a place in the playing XI regularly anymore, be it ODIs or T20Is.
Washington Sundar is no match if you compare him with Ravichandran Ashwin: Dileep Vengsarkar
Interestingly, at a press conference a few days back, Indian captain Virat Kohli had made it clear that there was no place for Ravichandran Ashwin in the limited-overs squads.
He had pointed out that Washington Sundar has been doing his job as an off-spinner in the white-ball formats.
“Washington has been doing really well for us. So you cannot have two players of the same discipline, playing in one spot," Kohli had said.
Vengsarkar, however, did not buy the Indian captain’s theory. According to him:
“Washington Sundar is no match if you compare him with Ashwin, purely as a bowler. Where is the comparison? Players of 'the same discipline', however, have featured in the Indian squad before. The Ravindra Jadeja-Axar Patel combo is a case in point. So why not Washington and Ashwin?”
“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 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".
India will face England in the third ODI of the three-match series in Pune on Sunday.