I wasn't sure but Virat Kohli wanted Ravi Ashwin in India's T20 World Cup 2021 squad: Sourav Ganguly

I wasn’t sure but Virat Kohli wanted Ravi Ashwin in India’s T20 World Cup 2021 squad: Sourav Ganguly

Ashwin hadn’t played white-ball cricket for Indian since 2017.

Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin
Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion in India’s T20 World Cup 2021 squad was nothing less than a surprise as the veteran off-spinner hadn’t played white-ball cricket for Indian since 2017. While Ashwin wasn’t immediately inducted in the playing XI, he got a chance after India’s defeat in the first two games. The off-spinner made full use of the opportunity and claimed six wickets in three outings with his economy rate being below six.

Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly has revealed that the then skipper Virat Kohli, who stepped down as T20I captain after the tournament, wanted Ashwin in the squad. Ganguly also accepted that he wasn’t certain about Ashwin’s inclusion as he hadn’t played T20I cricket since a while. However, the spinner eventually got a chance and Ganguly was pleased with his performance.

You can’t ignore a player like Ravi Ashwin: Sourav Ganguly 

“I wasn’t sure whether he would be a part of the white-ball (set-up). But then Virat Kohli wanted him in the side. And whatever little bit of opportunity he got, I thought he was superb,” Ganguly said Boria Majumdar’s show ‘Backstage with Boria’. Ganguly also said that Ashwin’s phenomenal Test record makes him hard to ignore.

“Look at his Test record, it is phenomenal. It does not need me to say Ravichandran Ashwin is exceptional. His record and his performances show that he is exceptional. And you can’t ignore such players. You cannot just turn your eyes and say that he’s gone. I am not surprised with what he is doing,” said the former Indian captain.

“Everybody speaks about him. Look at Rahul Dravid’s statement after the (Kanpur) Test match – he called him an all-time great and one of the biggest match-winners. You don’t need rocket science to judge Ashwin’s talent. My appreciation just comes from what I see. It may be Ashwin, it may be (Shreyas) Iyer, it may be Rohit (Sharma), it may be Virat (Kohli). And I just say what I see. There is nothing more to it,” he added.

Gangly also hinted that Ashwin would remain a part of India’s upcoming plans in white-ball cricket. “I don’t see a reason why (I shouldn’t back him). Look at the number of winning teams he has been a part of. 2011 World Cup, he was part of the winning team for India. 2013, when he won the Champions Trophy, he was a leading bowler in that tournament,” asserted the 49-year-old.