Should India recall R Ashwin to their T20I side? | Looking at whether India should pick Ravichandran Ashwin in the T20I team
We are getting closer to the T20 World Cup with each passing day and all teams are trying hard to resolve whatever issues they have in their T20I side.
India are definitely one of the top contenders for the title, but they also have some areas to work on; their spin department being one of their biggest concerns now. As the World Cup is taking place in the UAE, it is important to have a good spin attack. Now the question arises whether India should recall their most experienced spinner R Ashwin into the T20I team or not. In this article, I have tried my best to find a solution to this question considering several factors as mentioned below.
Recent performances of Chahal and Kuldeep in T20Is:
Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were India’s most dependable spinners a few years ago. However, they both suffered a slump of form after the 2019 World Cup and their performances have only declined at international level since then. The batsmen are picking their variations quite well and they both haven’t been impactful in recent times. I have presented a table below, which gives an idea of their miserable returns in T20Is since 2019 World Cup.
It’s pretty clear from these stats that they both have been struggling to pick wickets and control the flow of runs as well for quite a while now. In such a scenario, the case becomes stronger for someone like Ashwin to make a comeback and lead the Indian spin attack.
The problem with the other available options:
Apart from Chahal and Kuldeep, India have several other spin bowling options with Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy and Krishnappa Gowtham being ahead in the pecking order in the current scenario. Sundar has blown hot and cold recently as he has conceded runs at an economy of more than 8 in four out of his most recent 5 T20I series. Also, his average of 33.16 and SR of 24.25 suggest his inability of picking wickets regularly. The other bowlers have a combined experience of 8 T20I games. Some of these guys can be the backup spinners, but certainly they are not going to lead the attack. Ashwin brings the experience with him. So, he can perform as well as guide the other spinners by mentoring them.
Ashwin’s current white ball form:
Ashwin was brilliant in IPL 2019 and 2020, in which he picked 28 wickets and bowled at a good economy rate of 7.46 in both the tournaments combined. He bowled some really impressive spells in IPL 2020, which was played in the UAE. Also, he is not just an off spinner. He possesses all the varieties in the world and has the capacity of bamboozling the best in the business. So, India have their most experienced “mystery spinner” in front of their eyes. Thus, his inclusion brings a different dimension to the Indian spin bowling department, which majorly contains wrist spinners.
The only concern regarding Ashwin’s inclusion is his fitness issue in recent times. As he is almost 35 years old, many of you might want him to focus only on Tests for the rest of his career, but I see things from a different perspective. In my opinion, it’s a matter of just this World Cup which is a few months away.
So, it won’t be a bad call to recall the most experienced Indian spinner for the sake of this mega event. It is obviously subjected to Ashwin’s performance in the second leg of the IPL 2021, which is also scheduled in the UAE. If he performs admirably, I do not see any reason for not including him in the list of World Cup probables.
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Written by Debashish Sarangi. Follow Debashish on Twitter today.