Ravichandran Ashwin’s selection in India’s T20 World Cup 2021 team came as a complete surprise given that the experienced off-spinner had not featured white-ball cricket for Team India after 2017. Although Ashwin was not initially inserted into the playing XI, he was given an opportunity following India’s defeats in the first games. The off-spinner took maximum most of the occasion, taking 6 wickets in 3 outings with an economy rate of less than 6.
Furthermore, BCCI’s president Sourav Ganguly has disclosed that the then-captain Virat Kohli, who stepped down as T20I skipper just after the competition, preferred Ashwin in the team. Ganguly also said that he was unsure about Ashwin’s participation because he hadn’t performed T20I cricket in a long time. Nevertheless, Ganguly was impressed with the spinner’s efforts when he finally got an opportunity.
Virat Kohli wanted Ashwin in the side: Ganguly
“I wasn’t sure whether he would be a part of the white-ball (set-up). But then Virat Kohli wanted him in the side. And whatever little bit of opportunity he got, I thought he was superb,” said Ganguly.
“Look at his Test record, it is phenomenal. It does not need me to say Ravichandran Ashwin is exceptional. His record and his performances show that he is exceptional. And you can’t ignore such players. You cannot just turn your eyes and say that he’s gone. I am not surprised with what he is doing,” said the former Indian captain.
“Everybody speaks about him. Look at Rahul Dravid’s statement after the (Kanpur) Test match – he called him an all-time great and one of the biggest match-winners. You don’t need rocket science to judge Ashwin’s talent. My appreciation just comes from what I see. It may be Ashwin, it may be (Shreyas) Iyer, it may be Rohit (Sharma), it may be Virat (Kohli). And I just say what I see. There is nothing more to it,” he added.
Gangly also suggested that Ashwin will continue to be a part of India’s white-ball preparations in the future. “I don’t see a reason why (I shouldn’t back him). Look at the number of winning teams he has been a part of. 2011 World Cup, he was part of the winning team for India. 2013, when he won the Champions Trophy, he was a leading bowler in that tournament,” asserted the 49-year-old.