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T20 WC 2022: The relevance of Ashwin in T20 World Cup 2022

T20 World Cup The Relevance of Ravi Ashwin
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The relevance of Ashwin in T20: The lack of understanding among few fans and experts, the hatred against the man who is playing probably for his last T20I Ravi Ashwin.

The Relevance of Ashwin

A narrative is being spread by a good number of fans and pundits that Ashwin has not performed well since his return to the T20I format. They ask, and I quote, “Why are you going back to Ashwin when he has nothing to do in the 2021 World Cup and beyond?”

I don’t fully understand who started this story because not only is it completely false, but it shows that the player is an easy target for people. Here are his stats in the shortest form since his comeback…

Innings: 10

Overs: 40

Russ: 244

Wickets: 14

Econ: 6.10

Avg: 17.4

Those stats are nothing short of brilliant. How many spinners are going at a economy rate of close to 6 in the shortest format?

One here might argue that two of those games were vs Namibia and Scotland, even if you remove those from this sample set, he has very good numbers. As a player,the games he has got to play in the 11, he has done very well.

This however does not mean that there cannot be a healthy debate about who should be picked among Chahal Bishnoi and Ashwin, there are points against Ashwin like he is not an out and out wicket taker which can be used to have a healthy debate with counters.

But none of the healthy debate thing happens in the case of Ashwin, people pick out non existing-issues to convince themselves that he does not deserve to be a part of the team.

Yesterday, on the platform Sports Today, India Today Group Mr. Rawat Rahul pointed out one of the reasons “Ashwin did not deserve to be a part of the team was that he wasn’t a safe catcher”.

This is an absymal claim. Isn’t it? Ashwin is sure a slow fielder but has got one of the safest pair of hands. Remember, you are talking about a guy who took 2 clutch catches in the CT 13 final on back to back balls.

On the same platform, one of the expert few days back did not think twice before saying I quote “Economy is overrated in T20 cricket”. Having a bowler who can consistently maintain an economy of under 7 in the shortest format is an absolute luxury.

There is completely no emphasis on economy in T20 for cricket journalists in India. The art of defensive spin is continuously dictating the game indirectly, you are living in a fool’s paradise if you think a 6 run over before the wicket over did not contribute to the wicket.

I dare to say people actually watching the game and analysing how situations pan out value the contribution Ravi Ashwin has made both for RR and India recently.

Yuzi Chahal has benefitted immensely from this and has picked wickets in clusters and this contribution of Ashwin is acknowledged by both his IPL and the national team and has been rightly rewarded.

The latest example being the Sri Lanka vs India game in the Asia Cup where Ashwin in his 2nd and 3rd over had bowled defensively helping in increasing the required rate of the chasing side and the skill of Chahal came into play when they needed to go after him and they perished.

These type of contributions will not reflect in aggregate statistics but is certainly valued by the analysts in the team and the team themselves. T20 has moved on so much that judging solely on aggregate basis is a total farce now.

Yesterday on Sports Today, NikhilNaz, one of the better journalists in the industry when there was a debate going on about Shami and Ashwin in the T20 side said “Take out Shami’s and Ashwin’s record last 4 years in the IPL and check the no.of wickets they have taken.”

That above had to be one of the most heartbreaking statements I have ever heard in a while. Shami, a pacer who bowls with the new ball and in the death is obviously more likely to have more wickets than someone whose role is to bowl in the middle overs. Isn’t it?

Until you know the roles of the bowlers, and how they are doing their roles to the best of their ability , you cannot compare different bowlers with aggregate statistics.

Cricket is a team game and the contributions from bowlers especially is much more than what you just see on the wickets column.

What hurts me is not that his spot is being questioned, but the way and tone in which it is being questioned shows nothing but hatred for one of India’s all time greats in the game. (you can have a healthy debate about that too).

Twitter Thread Collection from Kaushik Jegadeesan

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