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Ravichandran Ashwin Gives Timely Reminder of Guile and Value of an Off-Spinner

Reported By: Amrit Santlani

Last Updated: September 24, 2023, 22:28 IST

Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three crucial wickets against Australia in second ODI (AP Image)

Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three crucial wickets against Australia in second ODI (AP Image)

With an incisive spell of 3/41 to pluck out the Australian middle-order in the 2nd ODI at Indore, R Ashwin made the most of his second chance in the ODI format and remains an outside chance to be considered for the World Cup Squad.

Ravichandran Ashwin is making a strong case for himself ahead of the ODI World Cup, giving a timely reminder of just how lethal he can be

The spotlight has been on Ravichandran Ashwin ever since the 37-year-old was included in India’s ODI squad for the three-match series against Australia. Having picked up a solitary wicket playing only in his second ODI in six years, Ashwin followed it up with a stellar spell that left the Australian middle order in tatters as they faced an uphill battle against India in Indore.

India vs Australia 2nd ODI Highlights

Much of the pre-series talk was whether Ashwin can force himself in India’s plans for the fifty overs spectacle, and judging by his performance in the second ODI the talk about his place in India’s squad will only intensify further.

India dominated the Australian bowling attack in Indore, as they racked up a mountain of a total scoring 399 on a flat surface before rain played a part in the script Australia were given a revised target of 317 in 33 overs and Ashwin did what he does best to snuff out any remaining hopes of a spectacular chase.

The Steven Smith-led unit had already lost Matthew Short and their captain before the rain break, and once play resumed, Ashwin took centre stage to further hurt the handicapped visiting side.

He gave a timely reminder of the guile and value of an off-spinner in India’s squad, heading into a home World Cup.

Ashwin first castled Marnus Labuschagne and later dismissed David Warner as the Aussie opener was trying to bat right-handed and was hit plumb in front of the stumps in the process.

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Josh Inglis was also trapped LBW shortly afterwards and the three quick dismissals ensured India nipped the Australian comeback hopes in the bud.

A 2-0 series win was on the cusp and India were firing on cylinders even though the game got truncated, credit where it’s due, Ashwin changed the course of the game when he broke the stand between Labuschagne and Warner to expose the Australian middle order.

The Kangaroos never really recovered after Ashwin’s fiery spell and not only will it give the spin wizard a world of confidence, there’s going to be more and more talk about Ashwin’s place in India’s World Cup squad.

Before the first ODI, coach Rahul Dravid insisted that recalling Ashwin was not a “trial or anything” for the off-spinner, as they are looking at this series as a “chance” to give some game time to the veteran, full marks to him for taking the opportunity with both hands.

His commitment towards the format was there for all to see, as he played a 50-over club game in Tamil Nadu to give himself the best chance of forcing the management into an 11th-hour change.

There has been a lot of talk about the off-spinner’s ability to trouble left-handers and about his form and fitness ahead of the World Cup. The Indian management faces a problem of plenty and Ashwin will only add to Dravid’s much-welcomed headaches, however when considering Sunday’s performance against Australia, and in general what the 37-year-old would bring to the table, he will certainly add a lot more variety to the 15-strong squad.

India will play their opening game in Ashwin’s home backdrop in Chennai on October 8 and there won’t be many bowlers in India who would know the spin-friendly surface of M.A. Chidambaram Stadium better than him.

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