Ravichandran Ashwin might play for Tamil Nadu in Ranji Trophy 2017-18 opener
What’s the story?
Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, currently representing the Worcestershire side in the English County championship, is expected to play for Tamil Nadu in their Ranji Trophy opener early next month, if reports are to be believed.
"We are hopeful that he would play if he is available. He did play in the inaugural TNPL in 2016 immediately upon arriving from the West Indies tour. If he plays, then it will be a big boost for Tamil Nadu", a TNCA official was quoted as saying to The Times of India.
In case you didn’t know…
Ashwin was ‘rested’ for India’s ODI series against Australia, with the selectors preferring the duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav over Ashwin and Jadeja. After the Champions Trophy, he played in the ODI series against the West Indies, but was seen only in the Test-leg of India’s tour to Sri Lanka.
The heart of the matter
Ashwin is set to return to Chennai by October 1, incidentally the day the last of the India-Australia ODIs will be played. If he is overlooked for the T20I series against the same opponents, he might turn up for his Ranji side in their opening game against Andhra on October 6.
A veteran of 90 first-class games, Ashwin made his debut for Tamil Nadu against the Haryana in 2006. His appearances for the Ranji side decreased as he became a regular fixture of the India side, turning into their first-choice off-spinner in Tests in the last few seasons.
Parallels from history
Captain of the side in the 2015-16 edition, Ashwin had been named in the Ranji squad last year ahead of their quarter-final, but had to withdraw after the 31-year-old suffered sports hernia.
Tamil Nadu’s squad for the Ranji Trophy is expected to be announced two days from now.
Ashwin has been impressive in his maiden county stint, picking up a five-for in his debut game and receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. His efforts in England would have done a world of good to his confidence, which would have taken a beating following his indifferent run in the limited-overs format.
A chance to play in the Ranji Trophy will help Ashwin recalibrate his bowling to Indian pitches, with the hopes of claiming a spot in the ODI team set to play against New Zealand starting October 22.