This ODI World Cup could be Ravichandran Ashwin’s last, the senior off-spinner, who replaced left-arm tweaker Axar Patel at the last moment, said on Saturday.
Ashwin, who returned to India’s ODI scheme of things for the recent 50-over games against Australia, delivered with four wickets in the first two matches. Important
wickets and not being too expensive either helped Ashwin have his way as he was eventually included in India’s World Cup squad.
That Axar is yet to recover from his quadriceps strain also firmed up Ashwin’s chances of making the final XV. Ashwin though acknowledged he didn’t expect himself to be there in the Cup squad. Before the Australia series, the last time he had played ODIs was in January 2022, against South Africa.
“Being in a good space, enjoying this tournament will keep me in good stead. This could be my last World Cup for India, so enjoying the tournament is of utmost importance for me,” the 37-year-old told Star Sports ahead of India’s warm-up game against England in Guwahati, which was a washout due to rain.
“Life is full of surprises. Honestly, I did not think I would be here. Circumstances have made sure I am here today. The team management too has shown trust,” Ashwin said, while talking about his inclusion in the Indian squad.
So far, Ashwin has played 10 matches for India in World Cup history with his last
appearance coming in the 2015 edition of the tournament. He has bagged 17 wickets in the competition at an economy of 4.36 with 4/25 being his best figures.
Apart from Virat Kohli, Ashwin is the only other member of the current Indian side to be a part of that Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led unit which lifted the 2011 World Cup.
Dealing with pressure though will be crucial, Ashwin agreed. “Dealing with pressure is paramount in these tournaments, and it will dictate how the tournament goes,” he said.
“All you can do is turn the ball both ways, and I think I can do it.”
In Thiruvananthapuram, the game between Australia and the Netherlands was abandoned due to rain. Steve Smith (55) and Mitchell Starc (3/18) though did the star turn for Australia in the game that was reduced to 23-overs-a-side.
After Australia posted 166/7, Starc registered a hat-trick as the Netherlands were reduced to 84/6 in 14.2 overs before the rains returned.