Dear Ravichandran Ashwin,
It has been a while since India has seen you in action in the shorter formats of the game. Before the Australia series, I believe it was almost 19 months before you finally took the center stage for the Men in Blue and delivered a cracker.
Well, what can I say? I believe the fact that off-spinners are now usually a rife scenario and India wanted to find new ways of revolutionising that number seven spot, you started dimming away from the limelight. The whites kept on coming at you and yet when the most glorious call came knocking on the door, you had to sit out.
Being very candid, going by the chemistry of the side, it is highly unlikely that you may get a place in the starting XI at least in the first five games. However, if India can get a headstart with four out of five wins maybe, then you have an outside chance of making an entrance into the side in the latter half of the tournament.
Well, the reason is obvious. India already has the likes of Ravindra Jadeja who will be delivering as the all-rounder and if we take the playing XI into consideration, it roughly comes as Rohit, Shubman, Virat, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah.
So how do you fit the puzzle? The answer is obvious. When Ravindra Jadeja is rested or maybe if Kuldeep fails to hit the right stride. So keeping the ifs and buts aside, let’s face it, it’s going to be everything but easy. It may even happen that you may not get a single game. Yet, now that you are in the World Cup, let’s just focus on what it can be if you get that shot.
Ash, we all know what you are capable of and what have you done for the Men in Blue in the grand events. That 2011 dismissal of Punter was class apart and now with 12 more years of experience, you are a different build altogether. From those mysterious variations to those exquisite regularities, you are capable of delivering it all.
What else to say about your batting Ash? You are any which ways one of those rare number sevens who can keep batting for as long as he has been asked to. A lot comes with you to the platter. More importantly what does come along with you is your experience. There may be icons reigning the sport for ages but when it comes to modern day cricket and off-spin in Indian sub-continent, let someone find me a better name than Ash and I will wait.
Ashwin, it’s time that you show what you are truly capable of. From here on, it is going to be only Team India. No one cares about a different Ash or an Axar. I hope that this last moment inclusion produces that X-factor that we have all been missing out on.
A crazy cricket fan