The Indian cricket fraternity finds itself in the midst of a spirited debate as captain Rohit Sharma and BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar consider the return of Ravichandran Ashwin to the One Day International (ODI) format, particularly with an eye on the impending World Cup. Ashwin, who has been absent from ODI cricket for 20 months, has been included in the squad for the upcoming three-match series against Australia, and his participation in the World Cup remains a possibility, pending the recovery of the injured Axar Patel. This move has sparked mixed reactions within the cricketing world.
The Case for Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin’s absence from the ODI format raised eyebrows, considering his reputation as a versatile spinner. His last ODI appearance for India dates back to January 2022 during the South Africa tour. However, the sudden turn of events has led to his inclusion due to Axar Patel’s quadriceps injury during the Asia Cup. Ashwin, alongside Washington Sundar, has been called up to provide the team management with an alternative option for the World Cup, in case Axar fails to recover in time.
Former cricketer Mohammad Kaif has voiced his support for Ashwin’s inclusion, citing the spinner’s impressive wickets tally across formats in international cricket. Kaif emphasised that had Axar Patel not sustained an injury, this move might never have materialised. He noted that quad injuries require substantial recovery time and thus justified the selection of the experienced Ashwin. Kaif also pointed out that comparing Ashwin and Sundar is unwarranted, given Ashwin’s remarkable record of 900 international wickets.
The Ongoing Debate
However, not everyone shares the same enthusiasm about Ashwin’s comeback. Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan expressed his reservations, primarily questioning the timing and readiness of the veteran spinner. Pathan believed that expecting Ashwin to perform at his best in a format he hasn’t played for almost two years, especially in a high-pressure event like the World Cup, is a gamble. He urged for a more structured approach, suggesting that Ashwin should have been given some game time before the Australia series to adapt and deliver results.
The debate surrounding Ravichandran Ashwin’s potential return to ODI cricket continues to intensify. Supporters argue that his experience and skills make him a valuable asset, while sceptics question whether he can seamlessly transition back into the format after a prolonged absence. With the World Cup on the horizon, the decision regarding Ashwin’s role in the squad remains a pivotal one for the Indian cricket team and its fans.