‘I am no slouch’ in white-ball cricket – R Ashwin

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On June 30, when ODI cricket’s top two sides meet in one of the World Cup’s most anticipated clashes, India’s spin discussions will revolve around Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja. One man who almost certainly will not is R Ashwin.
On that day, unless India’s selectors spring a major surprise with their World Cup squad, it will have been exactly two years since Ashwin last played an ODI.
Since that game against West Indies in Antigua, Ashwin has found himself cast as a Test specialist, another fingerspinning casualty in the worldwide push for wristspin as a wicket-taking force in white-ball cricket. Kuldeep and Chahal have been India’s first-choice spinners in ODIs since then, and if Jadeja has re-entered the picture over recent months, it’s thanks in large part to his utility as a lower-order hitter and gun fielder.
“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.”
Ashwin hasn’t reconciled himself to being a Test-only player, however, and says his exclusion from limited-overs cricket is down to a “perception” that wristspin is a must in the shrter formats.
“I am not looking at it like that because I am no slouch,” Ashwin said in an event in Mumbai on Saturday. “In the white-ball format, my records are not bad like what it is perceived to be. It is out of perception that wristspinners 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.
“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. I
t is the challenges of the modern-day game, I will be looking forward to do whatever I can do best.”
Perception or not, the rise of wristspin in ODIs has coincided with Ashwin trying to reinvent himself as a limited-overs bowler; during last year’s IPL, he alternated between legspin and his usual offspin, and he’s set to do so again this season for Kings XI Punjab.