Former India opening batter Aakash Chopra feels that Ravichandran Ashwin needs to take a step away from defensive bowling and try to look for wickets. The veteran off-spinner conceded only eight runs in his four overs but failed to claim a wicket in the first T20I against South Africa in Kerala on Wednesday, September 28.
He was primarily included in the playing XI in place of Yuzvendra Chahal to counter the southpaws in the South African batting line-up. However, by the time Ashwin came onto bowl, the likes of Quinton de Kock, Rilee Rossouw, and David Miller were all dismissed, with Wayne Parnell the only remaining left-handed batter.
Opining that defensive bowling is fine as long as wickets are being taken from the other end, Chopra said on his YouTube channel:
"Now Ashwin conceded eight runs off four overs in his spell. If you look at the spell in isolation, then it would look really good. But, in my opinion, bowlers should always look for wickets, especially spinners."
"Defensive bowling is fine when wickets are coming from the other end. In this match, that was the case, so it was a good spell overall."
While Ashwin could not find a place in the playing XI during the series against Australia, he was selected in the Super 4 contest against Sri Lanka to counter the left-handed batters in their batting unit.
Since his surprise return to the T20I setup, starting from the tour of the Caribbean in July, Ashwin has taken five wickets in six matches at an economy of 6.13.
"Winning the World Cup won't be possible without Bumrah" - Aakash Chopra
The makeshift Indian bowling unit did a stellar job in the first T20I by restricting South Africa down to 106/8. The likes of Arsdeep Singh and Deepak Chahar did an excellent job with the ball in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, who was ruled out of the contest due to a back niggle.
The right-arm pacer was selected for the home series against Australia following a lengthy injury layoff but was not fit enough to play the series opener. He played the next two matches but still continues to struggle with a back injury.
Stating that a World Cup triumph would be impossible without Jasprit Bumrah's presence in the bowling unit, Chopra said:
"I was not 100 percent sure that Bumrah was fit in the series against Australia. Bumrah's backbone is in a way Team India's backbone as well. While we enjoyed watching Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh, the reality is that winning the World Cup won't be possible without Bumrah."
The ace bowler has a couple of matches to regain his rhythm ahead of the T20 World Cup 2022, starting next month. He was far from his best in the series against Australia and recorded the most expensive spell of his T20I career during the series decider, conceding 50 runs in four overs.
India will take on South Africa in the second T20I of the series in Guwahati on Sunday, October 2.
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