Both Ashwin and Warner are at the last stage of their careers. But in terms of competition, both are second to none and both are adept at trying new tricks in the game.
Warner knows that Ashwin's average and strike rate against left-handed batsmen is better than that of right-handed batsmen. So Warner turned to face Ashwin with his right hand. He also swept one ball and also stole runs. But by then Ashwin had woven a new trick in his mind.
This time Warner had to face a fast thrown carrom ball on the wicket. The ball was thrown so cleanly that if Warner had tried to catch the ball after seeing Ashwin's action, he would have missed the ball and if he was watching the ball, he would have missed his action. As a result, the ball hit his pad, Ashwin made a strong appeal and Warner came back to the pavilion.
Sending a batsman back to the pavilion is not a new thing for Ashwin, who has taken more than 700 wickets in Test, ODI and T20I, but there was something special in this wicket. A slight satisfied smile was also visible on the lips of Indian coach Rahul Dravid, who never expressed his feelings on the field.
That evening in Indore, apart from Warner, Ashwin also took the wickets of Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Inglis. In response to India's 399 runs, Australia was all out for 217 runs in the 29th over, in which Ashwin contributed 3 wickets for 41 runs. The last time Ashwin took three wickets in ODI was in the year 2017.
Whereas in Indore, if Warner's wicket was unsurpassed, then Ashwin left no stone unturned in defeating Labuschagne. Ashwin had also dismissed him with the carrom ball, but according to Ashwin, this was the third type of carrom ball which he gripped with the middle finger and it was released at a special angle like a slider which shattered Labuschagne's stumps.
Ashwin's artistry was also being praised in the Australian media and Ashwin was making way for his next mission. The mission was to make it to the World Cup team. Earlier in the match also, Ashwin had bowled tight and achieved success. Before this series, Ashwin had played only two ODI matches in the last six years.
In 2017, the selectors started saying that Indian ODI cricket has moved beyond Ashwin and Jadeja. But later Jadeja made a comeback in ODIs but the doors were closed for Ashwin. He was not even in the 2019 World Cup team.
But Ashwin never gave up. He used to work hard day and night at NCA or other places to bring variations in his bowling in limited overs cricket. He participated in many matches of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and worked on both batting and bowling. At NCA, he honed his spin bowling with former Indian spinner and coach Sairaj Bahutule. After taking the wicket of Labushan, he told BCCI in an interview how he has worked on his variations.
Throwing light on his practice, he said, "I worked a little with Sairaj on ball grip and different angles. I am most happy that I am successful in creating confusion in the mind of the batsman that the ball Which way will it turn? In this type of slider carrom ball, the angle and release point remains almost the same as before, due to which I can put the batsman in doubt whether his bat will take an outside edge or an inside edge. I have been working on this for a long time. Was there and now I have succeeded in inserting it.
Ashwin's hard work day and night paid off and BCCE announced on Thursday evening that Ravichandran Ashwin has been included in the team in place of injured Axar Patel.
Well-known cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted on Twitter, "After those two matches against Australia, Ashwin was certain to be selected. Sad for Axar Patel but he will get more opportunities. India has shown great all-round skills. If Hardik is bowling well then you will also see Ashwin in the first eleven."
After seeing Ashwin's bowling in the first two matches against Australia, Sunil Gavaskar had advocated his selection in the team. He had said, "The way he has bowled in the first two matches, I think he has booked his ticket to the World Cup."
Former Test cricketer and commentator Aakash Chopra had earlier raised the question as to why the board remembers Ashwin only during the World Cup. He said on his YouTube channel, "It is interesting that this happens every year before the World Cup. If you look at the previous T20 World Cup, you will find that they are not selected a year before the World Cup, but as soon as the World Cup Whenever Indian cricket remembers Ashwin."
And even if you remember, why not?
Before this series, Axar Patel's ordinary bowling in the Asia Cup had also sparked debate on Ashwin's place in the team. Patel had failed to take wickets even on a pitch conducive to Sri Lanka's spin, hence questions were being raised whether by strengthening the batting the team was weakening the bowling.
Talking about the World Cup, this time the Indian selectors had not selected any off-spinner in the team and after Patel's injury, when a place became available in the team, Ashwin fit into it. However, along with Ashwin, Washington Sundar's name was also discussed in the selection meeting. But the way Ashwin had made the Australian batsmen dance in the recent series, the selectors gave him preference and the better bowler was selected in the team.
However, Ashwin has also shown exploits with the bat from time to time. He started his career as an opening batsman and has five centuries to his name in Test matches.
He had expressed his intention a few months ago that he would like to be in the World Cup team, but for this he is focusing only on the things over which he has control – that is, Ashwin was only talking about working hard. He has also worked a lot on his batting in the past few days and has also practiced a lot to hit fast and long shots according to the conditions in ODIs.
The role of the spinner becomes very important in the Indian pitch and conditions. Remember the 2011 World Cup which India won. Apart from Harbhajan and Ashwin, India also had Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar as spinners in that team. In many matches, Indian spinners bowled more than 30 overs. We may see something similar in this World Cup, especially in the first half.
The 2011 World Cup was played in February–March. At that time the heat was increasing, whereas this time as the days of the World Cup increase, the winter will also come closer. Well, at least in the month of October the conditions will favor slow bowling. If Hardik Pandya plays the role of the third fast bowler, then the Indian team will also have the opportunity to play three spinners. The main spinner of this team is Kuldeep Yadav, his selection is certain.
Ravindra Jadeja also comes into the team because of his batting and fielding. Hardik's bowling opens the way for Ravichandran Ashwin and he would not like to miss any opportunity at this stage of his career.
The specialty of Ashwin is that he can bowl the ball in such a variety of ways that hardly any modern cricketer can do so. He has expertise in bowling 'Doosra', he can bowl three variations of carrom ball, he is capable of bowling from the corner of the crease or coming close to the stumps, he has a slow ball as well and can bowl fast as well. If off spin is his stock ball then he can deceive the batsmen even by bowling leg break.
Ashwin, who is successful in bowling in many ways, tries to bowl in the same style as much as possible so that the batsmen are not able to decide whether the ball will come in or go out. He demonstrated this specialty in the series against Australia, in front of which even famous batsmen bowed down.
Now it's the turn of the World Cup. Ashwin has reached Guwahati for India's first warm-up match where India will face England. Ashwin had expressed his desire that he wants to be a part of the team that wins the World Cup once again. For this he has taken his first step.
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