R Ashwin does not go there to survive, having him in the squad is a certain advantage: Rohit Sharma

R Ashwin does not go there to survive, having him in the squad is a certain advantage: Rohit Sharma

Ashwin played a T20I for the first time in four years on November 3.

Ravi Ashwin
Ravi Ashwin. (Photo Source: Instagram/Ravi Ashwin)

Ravichandran Ashwin made his return to India’s T20I team after four years when he took the field against Afghanistan on November 3 in Abu Dhabi. Having last played the format in 2017 against West Indies, Ashwin came back into the national reckoning after a finger injury ruled out Washington Sundar, but did not feature against either Pakistan or New Zealand.

The veteran off-spinner played a crucial role, registering figures of 2/14 in what was an impressive comeback. Indian opener Rohit Sharma reckoned that having an experienced campaigner like Ashwin in the side is always a huge plus.

“You saw his quality today, he has played so much cricket now and taken so many wickets. He also knows that it was a challenge for him because he was playing after three or four years. But he was playing IPL consistently and was bowling really well and he is a wicket-taking option,” Rohit said after India’s thumping 66-run victory over Afghanistan.

“Every time you give him the ball, he comes to take wickets and is not there to survive or bowl his six balls and get away. When you have someone like him in the squad, it gives us that advantage.

“He understands his bowling really well, he is coming off the IPL in good form. So, I am glad that he could contribute to our success today and I hope that he can do the same in the next few games that we play as well,” said Rohit.

Asked if he had a conversation with Ashwin regarding his non-selection during the England Test series earlier this year, Rohit said: “The conversation between me and Ashwin throughout the UK tour was where we should take our kids. It was never about cricket, he has got two beautiful daughters, I have got a daughter, and we were only discussing which theme park we should be going to during our off time.”

Meanwhile, India’s victory over Afghanistan has pushed their net run rate into the positive. They will face Scotland on November 5 followed by Namibia on November 8. However, India’s fate lies no longer in their hands as they need to win both the fixtures and also hope that New Zealand lose at least one of their remaining two games, in which case both teams will remain tied on six points, with net run rate coming into play.