Ravichandran Ashwin returned to India’s ODI eleven after more than four years in the first ODI versus South Africa on Wednesday in Paarl. The last time Ashwin played an ODI was in June 2017, after which India moved towards leg-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
The pair of Chahal and Kuldeep was India’s strength going into the 2019 World Cup, however, a poor game against England saw that pair being broken. Kuldeep was slowly ousted from the setup while Chahal has held onto his position in the squad.
Ashwin, who returned to the T20I side in the World Cup last year, has marked his comeback in the 50-over format too.
However, former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar doesn’t feel that recalling Ashwin for in the one-day is the ideal strategy by the new management of Rahul Dravid going forward.
“It’s not like he (Ashwin) has set the stage alight in the last couple of years and he’s knocking the door down. But the thinking has changed in the management and they have gone away from Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal; in fact, Jayant Yadav is the other spinning option. So, they have gone back to finger spinners. Jadeja has come back into scheme and planning of India’s white-ball cricket,” Sanjay Manjrekar told ESPNcricinfo.
Manjrekar also hopes that chinaman Kuldeep Yadav is still under the selectors and management’s radar.
“But, I still don’t want to completely reject Kuldeep and forget about him because on this kind of pitches – [in Paarl] they are talking about turn and the South African batters, Kuldeep Yadav would have been exciting,” he added.
The 56-year-old commentator was clear in opining his views – which are not of praise – regarding R Ashwin in limited-overs cricket ahead of the first ODI. He wondered whether Ashwin will bowl like a conventional off-spinner or will mix things up.
“But Ashwin has come in, you know my views – I don’t rate him very highly as a white-ball spinner. But, I guess, [this is] a great opportunity to make it count. The interesting thing is how does Ashwin bowl – does he still be the off-spinner or he becomes the guy who bowls all kinds of deliveries possible for a spinner to bowl,” Manjrekar concluded.