Asia Cup 2022: Ravi Ashwin Has Increased Rohit Sharma’s Problems

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Senior off-spinner Ravi Ashwin has been included in India’s squad for the upcoming Asia Cup 2022 tournament in the UAE, which will kick off on August 27 with Sri Lanka, the designated hosts, taking on Afghanistan.

India are the defending champions, having won the tournament in 2018 – and overall a record 7 times – they will commence their title defence on August 28 against arch-rivals Pakistan. This will be the first meeting between India and Pakistan since the T20 World Cup last year when Babar Azam’s side thrashed Virat Kohli’s team by 10 wickets.

Asia Cup 2022: Ravi Ashwin Has Increased Rohit Sharma’s Problems
Image Source – Twitter

The BCCI has announced India’s 15-man squad plus three standbys for the Asia Cup 2022:

Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan

Standbys: Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar

You can see that the selectors and the management have gone with a spin-heavy bowling attack – along with all-rounder Jadeja are off-spinner Ashwin, and leg-spinners Chahal and Bishnoi. Keeping that the T20 World Cup in October is in Australia, many were surprised that India picked four spinners in their squad as in the T20 World Cup only two spinners – Jadeja and Chahal preferably – will play in the eleven.

This will now pose a major problem for skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid – though it is something everybody calls a “happy headache” to have as they have a number of skilled alternatives to choose from.

Rohit Sharma
Image Source – ESPNcricinfo

Ravindra Jadeja and Chahal are the certain starters in India’s eleven for their skillset and excellent abilities in their department. In the UAE conditions, then, one might expect India to play another spinner – given that Hardik Pandya is bowling his quota of overs and bowling well as a pacer which means that Bhuvneshwar and Arshdeep/Avesh will be the other two pacers, giving Rohit Sharma as many as six bowling options. Hence, Ashwin and Bishnoi will jostle for one place in the eleven.

Will Ravi Ashwin play in the Asia Cup 2022?

While Bishnoi’s talent and his ability to spin the ball both ways is exciting, Ashwin’s experience and his recent performances could tip the scales in his favor, at least against teams which have 2-3 left-handers, such as Pakistan who have two left-hand openers and another southpaw or two in the lower middle-order.

Since his return to the Indian T20 team last year at the T20 World Cup, Ashwin has boosted his T20 stocks: in 8 T20Is since his return, Ashwin has picked up 12 wickets and has an excellent economy of 5.78, which is amongst the best in the world during this period.

Ashwin has also taken his batting to a higher level – as shown during the IPL 2022: he often batted higher than his usual positions for Rajasthan Royals, and scored 191 runs at a strike rate of 141, including a maiden IPL half-century – and will add batting depth to the Indian eleven, especially in the absence of the injured Harshal Patel. The Asia Cup 2022 provides Ashwin him another opportunity to showcase his match-winning calibre in the shortest format.

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