Ravichandran Ashwin, one of the best off-spinners in the history of cricket, has faced some harsh words from former Indian star Yuvraj Singh about his prospects in the limited-overs formats of cricket. Yuvraj, who hung up his boots in 2019, wondered if Ashwin had the skills and the fitness to succeed as a bowler or a fielder in the ODIs and T20Is.
Yuvraj said that Ashwin had not been able to translate his Test cricket achievements to the shorter formats of the game. He said that Ashwin did not have the variations and the abilities to bowl in different situations of the game. He also said that Ashwin was not quick enough on the field and needed to improve his fitness.
“Although Ashwin is a brilliant bowler, I don’t see him as a suitable player for ODIs and T20s,” Yuvraj told Times of India. The retired all-rounder elaborated on his views and argued that the spinner does not contribute much with his batting or fielding skills to secure a spot in the white-ball team.
“He has great skills with the ball, but what about his batting? Or his fielding? He belongs in the Test team, for sure. But in white-ball cricket, I don’t think he has a place,” Yuvraj said.
Ashwin, who has taken more than 480 wickets and scored five centuries in Test cricket, has been out of the ODI and T20I teams since 2017. He has been a consistent performer for the Test team, where he has played a crucial role in many victories. He has also been a valuable player for his IPL team, Rajasthan Royals, where he has taken 156 wickets and scored 707 runs.
Ashwin’s fans and admirers have come to his defense against Yuvraj’s remarks, saying that he deserves more respect and appreciation for his accomplishments. They have highlighted that Ashwin has been one of the most reliable and versatile players for India in all formats of cricket. They have also contended that Ashwin has shown progress in his fielding and batting skills over the years.
Yuvraj’s comments have triggered a discussion among cricket lovers and experts about the importance and role of spinners in the contemporary game. Some have agreed with Yuvraj that spinners need to change and evolve to survive in the limited-overs formats, while others have said that spinners still have a vital role to play in the game. Although Ashwin kept his silence on this comment.
India is currently playing a T20I series against Afghanistan and Ashwin is not part of it. However, the off-spinner will join the team for the upcoming home Tests against England that will begin on January 25. The BCCI has selected four spinners in the squad for the first two England Tests to take advantage of the conditions, and Ashwin is one of them.
Ollie Pope, the vice-captain of England’s red-ball team, has also admitted that there will be ‘outside noise’ about the pitches on their forthcoming Test tour of India.
“There will be a lot of outside noise,” Pope said to the Guardian.
“And pitches can be a huge topic of discussion. But we have to keep in mind that both teams are playing on the same surface, so we just need to be as prepared as we can,” he added.
India squad (first two Tests)
Rohit Sharma ©, S Gill, Y Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, S Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Dhruv Jurel (wk), R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Avesh Khan