Rohit Sharma-led Team India didn’t have the best of the outing at the Asia Cup 2022, which the team faced defeats against Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Super 4 stage, making the clash against Afghanistan a dead rubber. While the batters put up a decent show, especially talismanic cricketer Virat Kohli, the bowlers didn’t quite live up to their reputations, thus handing a perfect reality check for the Men In Blue ahead of the much-anticipated World T20s, which starts from next month in Australia.
Despite the poor show the selection committee have stuck with almost the same batch for the World Cup, which traveled to UAE. The only difference can be seen in the seam department as premier seamer Jasprit Bumrah and death overs specialist Harshal Patel returns to the squad, while Avesh Khan, who was part of the team at Asia Cup, failed to make the cut.
Now with the squad already announced many experts have voiced their opinion on the team, which will be on the flight to Australia for the T20 extravaganza. Ashwin, who had an average outing in UAE, has been frowned upon by experts, while others have backed the carrom ball specialist to do well in Australia.
On similar lines former New Zealand captain and renowned spinner Daniel Vettori has backed Ashwin to deliver well in Australia. He feels the ability to adapt quickly and his vast knowledge of the conditions will help him during the course of the World Cup, where India kick-off their campaign against Pakistan on October 24.
“We all know Ashwin has been exceptional in Tests. The thing for him is he’s coming off a great IPL, and he’s obviously included in the T20 squad for India,” the former New Zealand captain, who is here to play the second edition of the Legends League Cricket, told reporters. “He’s one of those guys who’s very adaptable, he understands what he needs to do in all situations. I think if he’s picked he will know how to perform. He’s been to Australia on a number of occasions,” the 43-year-old said.
If we look at Ashwin’s stats from the continental tournament, the spinner was used in the final two matches, in which he could only scalp two wickets, while conceding 32 runs against Sri Lanka and 27 against Afghanistan.
Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar, however, remains surprised to see Ashwin in the squad. During an interaction on the Sports 18 show ‘Sports Over the Top’ Manjrekar noted: “I was surprised actually with his selection. I don’t think fielding is crucial in T20 cricket. I know a couple of brilliant catches can change the tide of the game but if somebody has got brilliant skills in batting and bowling, then maybe fielding can be ignored. I will just say that I didn’t expect Ashwin to be part of the squad but it’s happened.”