If I Was Virat, I Would Pick Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja For India's T20 World Cup Campaign, Says Monty Panesar

If I Was Virat, I Would Pick Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja For India’s T20 World Cup Campaign, Says Monty Panesar

R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Monty Panesar, former England spinner feels the Indian selectors and team management might have a bit of a headache when it comes to picking the first choice spinning options for the forthcoming T20 World Cup in India.

India skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri would want to pick the best team for India before the ICC T20 World Cup begins in India later this year. The Indian team management would want to pick the first-choice openers,  the best fast bowling options considering injury woes, the best spinning options, and the best all-rounders all of which should be decided prior to the World Cup.

Monty Panesar
Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar: IPL Will Be A Litmus Test For Kuldeep Yadav And Yuzvendra Chahal

Monty Panesar rates ‘veterans’ Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as better options over wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. In the last 10 T20Is that he has played, Yuzvendra Chahal has taken 9 wickets. On the other hand, Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t got many chances in the shortest format of the game.
After playing 9 T20Is in 2018, the Chinaman bowler featured in just 4 T20Is in the last two years (2 T20Is in 2019 and 2 T20Is in 2020). He last played a T20I match for India in 2020 (against Sri Lanka in Indore), where he took 2 wickets in his four overs, conceding 38 runs.
Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

“The IPL will be a big litmus test for Chahal and Kuldeep. If they have a bad season, their T20 World Cup berths will be doubtful,” Monty Panesar told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.

“With the T20 World Cup coming up in October, Virat wants to pick his best spinners. He has pacers and all-rounders and batsmen. The selection of spinners can worry him. I wouldn’t mind seeing Jadeja and Ashwin back in the fray.

“If I was Virat, I would pick Ashwin-Jadeja ahead of Kuldeep-Chahal for the World T20. That’s because of their experience and game-changing abilities. They both have all-around abilities. They both are big-match players.” Monty Panesar added.

According to the former England spinner Monty Panesar, the recent form of spin duo Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav has put a big question mark on their selection.

Monty Panesar Reckons Virat Kohli Will Go For Ravichandran Ashwin And Ravindra Jadeja While Harbhajan Singh Is Dark Horse

Ravichandran Ashwin, who has played 78 Tests, 111 ODIs, and 46 T20Is for India so far, last played a T20I match way back in 2017 against West Indies in Kingston. The 34-year-old off-spinner was the second-highest wicket-taker for India and fourth overall, in the four-match Test series in Australia.

He claimed 12 wickets in 3 Tests, including one four-wicket haul. In the four-match home series against England, Ravichandran Ashwin was the highest wicket-taker. He signed off the series with 32 scalps in 4 Tests, including 3 five-wicket hauls.

“With the World Cup coming up, Ashwin can play a big role. He has a brilliant mind. He is experienced. I would suggest Kohli should go for Ashwin and Jadeja in the World Cup. They are veterans and have won the games for India with both bat and ball.

“Cricket is a funny game. Things change pretty quickly here. Performers become non-performers and people who have been warming benches, shine. A lot of talent is coming up in Indian cricket.

“It is all about 2 or 3 bad games and there are other options who are waiting to take your spot,” Monty Panesar further told TimesofIndia.com.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Interestingly, Monty Panesar also feels a good IPL performance can also surprisingly see veteran 40-year-old Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh joining the selection race.

“This IPL is about the Indian spinners. You can’t undermine Harbhajan Singh. Why not pick him in the World Cup squad if he has a good IPL season? I think he has some cricket left in him.

“Ashwin, Jadeja, and even Harbhajan will have the opportunity to be in the World Cup squad. All they need is to have a good IPL season,” Panesar maintained.

Interestingly, Harbhajan Singh played his first competitive match after 699 days on Sunday, when he featured in the KKR playing XI for their tournament opener vs SRH.

Harbhajan Singh in fact opened the bowling for the Kolkata Knight Riders and almost took the wicket of the dangerous David Warner in the first over of the SRH innings, but Pat Cummins dropped a rather simple chance at point.

Harbhajan though bowled just that one over in the match and KKR captain Eoin Morgan later said that he played a big role, advising and guiding the other bowlers during the match.

Eoin Morgan has also said that since he joined the Kolkata camp, Harbhajan Singh has shown more energy than anyone else.