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Thursday, December 02, 2021

For captain Rohit, Ashwin is an attacking option

In three matches at the World Cup, the 35-year-old offie claimed six wickets at an economy rate of 5.25.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty |
November 22, 2021 8:26:53 am
Ranchi: Indian bowler R Ashwin being greeted by his skipper Rohit Sharma after dismissing New Zealand batsman Tim Seifert during their 2nd Twenty20 cricket match at JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (PTI Photo/Swapan Mahapatra)(PTI11_19_2021_000354B)

With Ravichandran Ashwin getting a second wind in white-ball cricket, Rohit Sharma spoke of the senior off-spinner’s contributions in glowing terms since his return to the limited-overs fold after a gap of four years.

“He (Ashwin) is always an attacking option for his captain. When you have someone like him in the squad, it always gives you the opportunity to take wickets in the middle, and we understand how important that middle phase is. That’s where you need to put the brakes on run-rate and try keep taking wickets. Ashwin provides that in the middle, along with Axar (Patel),” India’s T20 captain said at the post-match press conference after a 3-0 clean sweep over New Zealand.

Washington Sundar’s injury paved the way for Ashwin’s return to the shortest format, as he was picked for the T20 World Cup. However, he wasn’t selected for the first two matches in the tournament, against Pakistan and New Zealand, and belatedly, on the heels of back-to-back defeats, Ashwin was included in the playing eleven for the game against Afghanistan.

In three matches at the World Cup, the 35-year-old offie claimed six wickets at an economy rate of 5.25. His resurgence continued in the home T20Is against the Kiwis, where in the first two matches – Ashwin was rested for the dead rubber – he once again made an impact, including a worldie to dismiss Mark Chapman at Jaipur.

“It’s been a great comeback for him. Ever since he played in Dubai (at the T20 World Cup) and till now… He is a quality bowler, we all know that. And now the way he has come back and bowled in Dubai and the two games here, it shows the quality that he has,” Rohit said, dropping a hint that unlike the previous team management under Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri, the new leadership group of Rohit and head coach Rahul Dravid would be a lot more open to use finger-spin in white-ball cricket.

What else has changed from the previous regime vis-a-vis the new one?

“No change. We are trying to give the players the security, so that they can go out there and play fearless cricket. We spoke of this very clearly to all the players that if you are trying to do something for the team, that act will never go unnoticed. We will always recognise when you are trying to put your hands (up) and take the pressure on yourself and trying to do something for the team. The job of the coach and captain is to tell the players that if it doesn’t come off, we will still back you. We will stay consistent with that,” Rohit said, while calling Venkatesh Iyer “a very, very bright prospect”.


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