Veteran India spinner R Ashwin has applauded India captain Rohit Sharma and star batter Virat Kohli’s decision to skip T20Is ahead of the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup 2023, slated to be played in India from October 5 to November 19. He believes that the break will help them in the mega event.
R Ashwin said on his YouTube channel: “Both [Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma] of them skipping and getting ready for the 50-over World Cup is a good decision and personally, both of them know their cricket very well since they have been playing for such a long time. So, they are using their experience and want to concentrate on the 50-over World Cup, which is exactly the right thing to do.”
However, he also picked Mohammed Siraj as India’s lead pace bowler for the 50-over World Cup. He has stepped up in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, with 19 scalps in eight ODIs this year so far.
R Ashwin said: “We know the spinners as well. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Axar Patel is a backup we have in the spinning all-rounder category. Siraj, Shami and Bumrah. Bumrah hasn’t played a lot in the last 11-12 months. So, the go-to marquee player for us during this period when it comes to the 50-over format has been Mohammed Siraj. So, I don’t think we can look beyond him. He is an automatic pick. Mohammed Shami got a break during the West Indies series. It was as if a much-needed break for him to get him ready for the marquee event in World Cup. So, Mohammad Shami will be back.”
“He [Ravi Shastri] brought up another point. He said we should have at least three left-handers in the top 7. Where will you bring in three left-handers? I am talking about the top 7. Hardik is a fix, and Jadeja is a fix. We have a left-hander among them. Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli are all fixed in the top 3. We don’t have a left-hander there. If KL Rahul is fit, he will be the keeper batter, and he is also a fix. If Shreyas is fit, he is also a fix. The only thing here is we should see if someone is performing extraordinarily well, and recently, Tilak Varma’s name is doing the rounds. Even I am mightily impressed with Tilak. He’s going to be the future pillar of our batting. He has surely got the potential. No doubt about that. He will be going to the Asian Games. There is a thought process of drafting them into the Asia Cup squad. Only if one of Shreyas Iyer or KL Rahul isn’t fit, Tilak Varma might come in. Otherwise, almost every slot is full in Indian XI,” R Ashwin concluded.