WHITE-BALL CRICKET OMISSION
Cricbuzz Staff •
“I would always look back at my career and say it is not due to my effort that I am sitting out of the team, it is due to the supply and demand that the team requires.” © Getty
It has been close to two years since Ravichandran Ashwin last played white-ball cricket for India, with the No. 2-ranked ODI team focusing more on the wrist-spin and all-round variety to do the job for the side. With the IPL getting underway from March 23, Ashwin, who will turn out for Kings XI Punjab, believes that his continued exclusion from India’s ODI and T20I sides has to do with the perception that legspin is a potent weapon for the limited-overs formats.
“I am not looking at it like that because I am no slouch. In the white-ball format, my records are not bad like what it is perceived to be. It is out of perception that wrist-spinners are required in the modern day one-day cricket format, that [is why] I am sitting out. The last one-day match that I played, I got 3 for 28,” said Ashwin at an event in Mumbai on Saturday (March 16).
“I would always look back at my career and say it is not due to my effort that I am sitting out of the team, it is due to the supply and demand that the team requires. I went and played in the Syed Mushtaq Ali [domestic T20 tournament] and I had a decent outing and that is how I look at it. I am playing cricket and it is not like I need to specialise in one particular format. It is the challenges of the modern-day game, I will be looking forward to do whatever I can do best.
Ashwin added wrist-spin to his repertoire in the last couple of years, which was on display in the last IPL when he sneaked in a few overs of leg-break, and is likely to continue doing that this season. “I have always maintained that you can spin the ball into the batsman or out of the batsman, you can’t do anything more than that. I am just adding more ammunition to my own skill and try and add more strength to my game and that’s all it has always been,” he said, when asked if he has more variations in store.
“I have never played for the galleries, never really played for the records, never really played for places. I just enjoy the sport, the sport has given me everything. When I picked up the bat and ball as a eight-year-old it gave me everything, I love it. Even today when I play a club game, when I play on the streets I enjoy it. For me it is all about playing the game that I love and excelling in the best possible way I can,” he added.
With workload management being a widely discussed topic considering that the World Cup will be played shortly after the IPL, Ashwin said the players are responsible enough when it comes to their fitness and know how to manage it. “I don’t think as a cricketer you can look far ahead about what needs to be done and how you can manage it. As a cricketer or as a sportsperson you just concentrate on what happens on the day. The franchise has invested money on you. Obviously it is a massive tournament, everybody plays for pride, everybody wants to perform and excel. It (managing workload) definitely stays at the back of the head because it is being spoken about a lot more right now.
“I am sure the players are responsible enough and more fitness-aware and be able to handle it than they ever were. I don’t think going into the tournament people will be thinking about it but as the tournament pans out and the way it goes for each and every franchise and for each and every player, they will take decisions wisely. Probably because of the number of injuries and the amount of premium players that are right now available for the country, and how important every spot is.
“It is a dream for every cricketer to represent his country at the World Cup, it is a big stage. I think that is the point of view from where they are coming. Obviously, bowlers have more chances of succumbing to injuries because of the workload they go through, it is physically more hard on the body than the batters. Probably from that point of view, if you look at a [Jasprit] Bumrah or a Bhuvneshwar [Kumar], Bumrah has been fine but Bhuvneshwar has had a few concerns over the last year or so. I think from that point of view the bowlers need to be taken good care of,” Ashwin said.