‘I played extraordinarily’ in 2016 World T20 – R Ashwin makes white

He might not have used a moniker to describe himself like his Kings XI Punjab team-mate Chris ‘Universe Boss’ Gayle, but R Ashwin had no reservations in calling himself one of the top bowlers in the T20 format. The Kings XI captain even threw numbers at doubters and pointed to his success during the 2016 T20 World Cup to make his case.

“In terms of the T20 format, my stats are at 6.72 [6.85 as per records] as my economy rate and I’ve played highest number of games in the IPL alongside Harbhajan [Singh],” Ashwin said in Jaipur ahead of his team’s IPL 2019 opener against Rajasthan Royals. “The last T20 World Cup, I played extraordinarily for my side and won Man of the Match in a game as well. That’s where I’d like to rest my case.”

For the record, among frontline Indian offspinners in the IPL, Harbhajan has played 150 matches, while Ashwin has played 125.

“There is a lot of analysis and cameras can read out every movement of your fingers. The secret is to adapt to conditions”


It’s been nearly two years since Ashwin turned out for India in coloured clothes, but he still remains India’s top wicket-taker in T20Is with 52 dismissals. Over the last couple of years, with the spotlight shifting from fingerspinners to wristpinners, Ashwin has struggled to break into the side – Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have been match-winners in recent times with the white ball.

A number of young spinners with various weapons in their arsenal have emerged in recent times. Ashwin argued that with technological advancements, no bowler could remain deceptive for too long, adding that adaptability was the only way around. In a bid to adapt and reinvent himself in the limited-overs format, Ashwin had tried bowling legspin apart from his usual fingerspin variations in the IPL last year. Recently, he also stated that his exclusion from India’s limited-overs teams was down to a “perception” that wristspin is a must in the shorter formats, and insisted he was no “slouch” in white-ball cricket.

“Cricket nowadays reveals everything. There is a lot of analysis and cameras can read out every movement of your fingers. The secret is to adapt to conditions. Look at Virat Kohli, earlier he was very strong on leg side but he adapted and now he is as strong on the off side too,” Ashwin said.

had said that IPL form would have no bearing on World Cup selection, Ashwin believed he could make an impact. “Although I think the formats are very different, adapting will be the key. This time we do have a big break between the IPL and World Cup so whoever is in good form is going to get a place,” he said.

It’s unlikely that Ashwin – who has been branded a red-ball specialist – would be considered for the World Cup, especially with Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav around too. Jadeja came back into the ODI fold during the Asia Cup last year – after sitting out for more than a year – and has been an integral part of the side since then, valued for his lower-order hitting and experience. Jadhav, meanwhile, is primarily a middle-order batsman, but has been impressive with his low-angle slingy spinners in the middle overs.

“India have a number of multi-utility cricketers. These are players who excel in one skill and constantly work on other skills as well,” Ashwin agreed. “In the Indian team, there’s Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar. Even Suresh Raina was an allrounder at a point. And there’s me and Jadeja who bowl as well as bat. Nowadays cricketers are very aware that you’ve to contribute both ways.”

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