Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir feels India should give Ravichandran Ashwin a chance in the upcoming World Cup. While the off-spinner continues to spearhead India’s spin department in Tests, he has fallen down the pecking order in coloured clothing. Ashwin has lost his spot in the team after the emergence of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav. Both the spinners have done exceedingly well irrespective of conditions to become automatic selections.
It would be safe to say that Ashwin’s ODI career has been stalled since the 2015 World Cup in Australia. Since that 2015 World Cup, Ashwin has featured in just 15 ODIs, taking 17 wickets at 40.58. His last ODI appearance came in June 2017 during the tour of West Indies.
Things started getting bad for Ashwin from 2017 Champions Trophy. He could not make it to the playing eleven for the first two games. But returned to the side after India lost to Sri Lanka. In a winner-takes-all match against South Africa, he gave India a much-needed breakthrough with the wicket of Hashim Amla. However, he fared poorly against Bangladesh in the semifinal and was below par in the Oval final against Pakistan.
After that final defeat, he bowled in two matches in the Caribbean and has not been recalled since then.
It would be safe to say that the off-spinner is unlikely to return to the ODI team soon. However, Gautam Gambhir feels Ashwin deserves a chance in the World Cup.
“I think both wristspinners have done a fabulous job for Indian cricket over the last one year. But I still feel that R Ashwin is someone we should look at. A quality spinner is a quality spinner, irrespective of whether you’re a wristspinner or a fingerspinner. Look at what Nathan Lyon has done in the Test series. He’s probably the best offspinner in the world and he’s a fingerspinner. So I feel we should not differentiate that there’s a wristspinner so there’s no space for a finger spinner. Someone like Ashwin, we should always consider. Looking at the conditions in England during that time of the year, the wickets could be dry and a fingerspinner could have an important role,” Gambhir told ESPNcricinfo.
Meanwhile, England will take on South Africa in the World Cup-opener on May 30, 2019, at The Oval in London. The tournament will last for 45 days with 48 matches to be played. India will start their campaign against the Proteas on June 5. The format for the 2019 edition will see 10 best teams in the world going head-to-head in a round-robin format. The tournament will culminate with the fifth final at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground on July 14.