Team India head coach Rahul Dravid has shared that seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has always been a part of their plans in ODIs in case of injury issues or an opening comes up in the team. Like captain Rohit Sharma, Dravid also added that Ashwin can make up for lack of game time in the ODI format given the kind of experience that he possesses as well. However, Ashwin, who recently turned 37, has been added to the Indian ODI squad for the home series against Australia after Axar Patel, who picked up a left quadriceps strain during the Asia Cup Super 4 match against Bangladesh and was eventually ruled out of the first two matches of the series against Australia as well.
At a pre-series press conference, Dravid said: “Having someone of Ashwin’s experience to come back is always good for us. Ashwin provides you that experience, that ability to be able to also contribute with the bat at No.8 and is someone that we always thought of in case there were certain injuries or certain opportunities opened up. He was definitely someone who was always a part of our plans. I know he hasn’t played a lot of one-day cricket over the last bit, but someone of his experience probably can deal with that really well,” the coach added.
However, there was a time in Indian cricket when Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, and Virender Sehwag used to bowl and got a number of key wickets for the team as well. However, the scene has changed a lot in recent years and India have had to depend on frontline bowlers and genuine all-rounders as well.
“I think it could also be because of the rule change. Suddenly, you have gone from four fielders inside the ring to five fielders. That has drastically changed the ability of part-time bowlers to be able to bowl through the middle phase. A lot of these guys started when there used to be only four fielders in the ring. In that kind of situation, you could use a lot of part-time bowlers. Not only us, a lot of teams did that,” he elaborated. If you would have noticed, the number of part-time bowlers have gone down in other teams as well. It’s not only in the Indian team. Partly, it’s because of two new balls. It’s becoming more and more difficult for part-time bowlers,” Rahul Dravid concluded.