For the love of game: R Ashwin makes a comeback for World Cup


Ravichandran Ashwin and skipper KL Rahul celebrate the dismissal of Australia's Marnus Labuschagne during the 1st ODI match at Inderjit Singh Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Friday (ANI)

Ashwin barely has featured in the 50-over format, in the past six years he has featured in two ODI games for the Indian team

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The door to India’s World Cup squad opened for Ravichandran Ashwin after Axar Patel sustained an injury in the recently concluded Asia Cup. The experienced spinner along with Washington Sundar was added to the squad to provide the ‘Men In Blue’ with further options and variety ahead of the World Cup. 

The Indian spinner has expressed his love for Indian cricket and is looking to bring something new to the team. “It’s a great opportunity for me, I want to bring something different to the table something different from my perspective, I have been working on some different angles because one day cricket isn’t about spin anymore it’s not about the angle of spin or anything,” Ashwin said to BCCI.

He went on to express his love for Indian cricket and asserted that he would be happy to contribute in any way.

“Indian cricket is very close to my heart. I am not a man of tattoos but the tattoo is well inside my heart. Whatever it is I am going to be with or not with the team, I will be playing with good vibes and watching with close vibes and if at all I get a chance to contribute I would be more than happy with that,” Ashwin added.

Head coach Rahul Dravid on Thursday clarified that the spinner was always in the plans after Ashwin returned to the ODI set-up after a year, “Having someone of Ashwin’s experience is always good for us. He gives you experience, the ability to contribute with the bat at number eight. He is someone we taught about in case of an injury or an opportunity opened up. He was always in our plans. He has not played much ODI cricket for a while, but someone of his experience can deal with that,” said the coach.

Indian skipper Rohit Sharma feels Ashwin’s lack of game time won’t be a concern for him in their upcoming three-match ODI series against Australia. Ashwin barely has featured in the 50-over format, in the past six years he has featured in two ODI games for the Indian team.

Rohit feels that Ashwin’s lack of game time in the format won’t be a concern as he has been representing the nation in the Test format. 

“With guys like Ashwin, game-time and time on the ground is not so much of a concern. Which is why we thought if he is an option for us, we need to get him in. With the kind of experience he has, for guys like him, it’s all in the head more than the body. I thought getting him in could give is a chance to understand where he is at, how his body is and stuff like that,” Rohit said in a press conference.

“It’s not like he has not been playing cricket for the last year or so. Yes, he hasn’t played in this [ODI] format, but he played Test cricket recently in the West Indies, and if I’m not wrong, in the TNPL as well. Of course, there’s no comparison but he has had some cricket there. The games against Australia will give us a chance to look at where he’s at,” Rohit added.

The other concern for the Indian team has been Shreyas Iyer. The right-handed batter missed out the final couple of games for ‘The Blues’ in the Asia Cup due to back spasms.

India’s Chief Selector Ajit Agarkar shed some light on Iyer’s injury and said that the batter at the moment is fit.

“He has not picked up a stress fracture at the moment he is fit and that is why we have picked him he has worked incredibly hard for the past few months, he will have to go through these games he did pick up a niggle, at the moment he is fine,” Agarkar said.

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