There have been speculations that Ravichandran Ashwin could be a part of India’s squad for the World Cup final on November 19. Since Hardik Pandya’s injury in the Bangladesh match a month back, India have played with the same team, with Suryakumar Yadav and Mohammed Shami in and Pandya and Shardul Thakur out.
Why are people talking about Ashwin now?
At the Narendra Modi Stadium, the final will be on the same pitch where Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja took four wickets each against Pakistan. The pitch is expected to be slow, favouring Ashwin – arguably India’s best off-spinner ever in ODIs with over 150 wickets.
Also Read: India vs Australia ICC World Cup final prediction: Who’ll win IND vs AUS match? Fantasy team, pitch report and more
Spinners have been more economical than pacers in the four World Cup matches at this venue. Also, Ashwin could be effective against Australia’s top order, especially left-handers like David Warner and Travis Head, who struggle against spin. India might use Ashwin against them in the first 10 overs.
What if Ashwin replaces Siraj?
In that case, India will be left with just 2 pacers, which could be risky since Hardik Pandya is not a part of the team. India do not really have a stable option for the sixth bowler. Siraj has been bowling with impressive pace in this tournament. He has taken 13 wickets so far. He recently lost his place as the number 1 ODI bowler in the ICC rankings. It will be difficult to drop Siraj.
What if Ashwin replaces Suryakumar Yadav?
Suryakumar Yadav, arguably India’s best T20 batter, has scored just 88 runs in the 6 matches played in the ICC World Cup 2023. It’s not entirely his fault. On more occasions than one, he had a few balls to face when he came to bat.
But, as a number 6 batter, he is supposed to deliver in such scenarios. He scored 2 off 4 balls against New Zealand, 49 off 47 against England, 12 off 9 against Sri Lanka, 22 off 14 against South Africa, 2 off 1 against the Netherlands and 1 off 2 in the semi-final. Since India have been winning emphatically, his performance is not under the radar.
What is Rohit Sharma saying?
During the pre-match press conference, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma was asked about the possibility of playing Ashwin in the final. Rohit decided to be politically correct in his answer, keeping all the options open.
“We haven’t decided on it. We will assess the pitch and will see it again tomorrow. Our 12-13 are decided. But we will come and see what is our strength. We will decide tomorrow,” he said.
Ashwin was never a part of India’s World Cup plans. But, then, Axar Patel got injured. Will Ashwin’s Lady Luck play a trick? Will Rohit Sharma take a risk of breaking the champion team combination in the final match? We have just a few hours to find that out.
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