Irfan Pathan wasn’t in agreement with the BCCI selectors’ decision to hand R Ashwin an ODI return this close to the start of the World Cup.
The Indian cricket team pulled a rabbit out of the hat as the selectors handed veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin a return to the ODI team just weeks before the World Cup. Ashwin will be in action for the team in the 3-match ODI series against Australia and it is strongly believed that he could replace the injured Axar Patel in the squad for the following World Cup too. However, not many are happy with this ‘unplanned’ move by the Board of Control for Cricket in India as Ashwin hasn’t featured in a 50-over contest for India since January 2022.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan slammed the team management’s decision, suggesting although there isn’t a better spinner in the world than Ashwin, the off-spinner should’ve been given more games in the format ahead of the World Cup if he was in the selection fray.
“You can’t get a better spinner than Ashwin in the entire world. But in a tournament as big as the World Cup, where there is immense pressure, you can’t expect a senior player to walk in and play for the team in a format which he hasn’t played for a long time and prove his worth. So you are leaving it entirely to fate,” Pathan told Star Sports.
“There is no planning here. Had there been a plan for Ashwin, they should have given him some game time before the World Cup. Yes, he will be playing against Australia, but is that enough? You have to bowl for 10 overs, and adjust in the team as well and give India that result. It isn’t that easy. Planning should have been better,” he added.
Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif, who was also a part of the discussion alongside Irfan Pathan, feels that the nature of Axar’s injury won’t let him return soon.
“If Axar hadn’t been injured then we wouldn’t have seen this move and Ashwin would have never been in the scene. Now Axar has suffered a strain injury and that takes time to recover from. No matter what they say, he will be back in a week’s time, but such injuries take at least 2-3 weeks to recover from. That is why they went for the experience in Ashwin. And remember, there is no comparison between Ashwin and Sundar. He has 900 wickets (712) across formats!” he asserted.