Ravichandran Ashwin was presented with his first white-ball selection after a four-year hiatus as India announced their squad for the impending T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman.
The 34-year-old, who didn't feature in a single Test in the recent series in England, was perhaps a surprise pick among India's contingent for the T20 showpiece, having played his last T20I against West Indies back in 2017.
Ashwin warming the benches during the England tour raised many eyebrows but legendary Sunil Gavaskar feels the senior off-spinner has been given a "consolation cup" to make up for his absence from the playing XI against the Poms. Ashwin has 52 wickets from 46 T20 International outings in his career.
“Ashwin's return is a good thing but we'll have to wait and see if he gets a place in the playing XI. You have selected him in the 15, that's alright, you chose him in the squad in England as well but are not giving him the chance in the XI,” Gavaskar said on Sports Tak after the Indian squad's announcement.
“So, he’s perhaps just given a consolation cup to make up for the disappointment that he might have here (in England). Will he play in the XI? Only time will tell,” he added.
Gavaskar further described MS Dhoni's "mentor" communique as bigger news than Ashwin's return to the side.
“MS Dhoni being the mentor is bigger news than Ashwin's selection because a captain, who led India to the 2011 World Cup and 2007 T20 World Cup wins, if he's in that camp, then India will immensely benefit from it,” said the former India skipper.
India, led by Virat Kohli, start their T20 World Cup campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 24. The multi-team T20 event was earlier scheduled to take place in India but the COVID-19 situation across the country forced the BCCI to shift the tournament to the UAE and Oman.