Team India registered a five-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first T20 of the series in Jaipur, and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin played a major role in the win. He took two wickets in the 14th over of the innings which eventually proved the difference in the game, as New Zealand, that were once eyeing a 180+ score in the game, were confined to 164/6 in 20 overs.
Ashwin made his return to the Indian T20 side ahead of the World Cup in October this year, following consistent performances in the Indian Premier League. The off-spinner didn’t play in the first two games of the edition, but featured in the remaining three, ending with 6 wickets. Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, reacting to Ashwin’s performance in the first T20, expressed his shock at his absence in the shortest format for Team India.
“To keep such a world-class player out of the team… it didn’t make sense to me. When India were playing against England, I was surprised that Ashwin wasn’t playing,” Butt said on his official YouTube channel.
“When he was playing in the practice match against Australia, he bowled only two overs, and yet he took two wickets. And then, they didn’t play him against Pakistan and New Zealand. When he eventually played, you saw the difference between him and the other bowlers,” Butt further said.
The former Pakistan cricketer believes Ashwin was on ‘another level’ in the game against New Zealand, and added that he should have played ‘every game of the T20 World Cup’.
“In the 1st T20 against New Zealand, the maturity he showed is just another level. He is a complete bowler. I don’t know what was the issue between Ashwin and the team management or the captain or the selectors… he should’ve played in every game of the T20 World Cup,” Butt said.