New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) Former India cricketer Abhishek Nayar believes ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s impressive performance in the second ODI against Australia has now created a bit more confusion for the selectors ahead of the upcoming Men’s ODI World Cup.
With Axar Patel in rehab due to a left quadriceps strain, Ashwin was handed a comeback to ODIs for India via ongoing series against Australia. At Holkar Stadium in Indore, Ashwin served a timely reminder of the importance and quality of an off-spinner, taking 3-41 in seven overs as India won by 99 runs via DLS method.
Ashwin’s carrom ball on a pitch giving spinners turn helped him turn the game on its head – starting by crashing into Marnus Labuschagne’s off-stump when the batter played for an off-break delivery.
David Warner brought out the ploy to bat right-handed against Ashwin in a bid to unsettle him. But the carrom ball from Ashwin did the trick again, as he fell over in an attempt to reverse-sweep and was trapped lbw in front of stumps, though replays showed a clear bottom edge. Josh Inglis was next to be trapped lbw by Ashwin while going for a sweep.
“It was never a question of whether he is the right replacement. It was just about seeing how he performs in this format, playing it after a long time, and whether he still has it in him to play it. And he’s proven that. He has only gotten better, which is a positive. He was challenged differently by David Warner, when Warner kept on going from left to right and vice versa.”
“But he started using the carrom ball and picked up three wickets. So, it just tells you that even if he is an off-spinner, he is good enough to bowl to a left and a right-hander, when required. So, I believe he has created a bit more confusion for the selectors, Rohit, and the support staff. It’s going to be interesting who they will pick between the two,” said Nayar to JioCinema.
Apart from Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who also took three wickets, India’s clinching of the series with a game to go was led by sparkling centuries from Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill, followed by blazing half-centuries from stand-in captain KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav.
“All boxes ticked. I think you can’t be happier. We wanted to see this – everyone doing well. The biggest question before this game was Shreyas Iyer, who scored a century. So, going into the World Cup with the understanding that even though your top five players were missing – India could win the series convincingly. It just tells you that there is enough depth and the fact that everyone is in good form – it is a good omen for India going forward,” added Nayar.
For the Rajkot ODI happening on Wednesday, India will be boosted by the return of captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya. It will also be the final international match for both India and Australia before meeting each other again in their respective Men’s ODI World Cup opening match on October 8 in Chennai.