Making a bold statement about R Ashwin's ordinary performance in the shortest format of the game in the last few years, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has said that teams are spending too much time on India off-spinner and he would never have someone like him in his T20 team.
Delhi Capitals off-spinner Ashwin ended a below-par IPL 2021 campaign on Wednesday after his side bowed out of the tournament, by losing to Kolkata Knight Riders. He dismissed Shakib al Hasan and Sunil Narine off successive deliveries and then got hit for a six off the penultimate ball to Rahul Tripathi to concede the match.
This season, Ashwin took just 7 wickets in 13 games and a best of 2/27 in the season. The Tamil Nadu spinner was recalled into the India squad for the T20 World Cup but Manjrekar feels "Ashwin, the T20 bowler, is not a great force in any team".
"We have spent far too much talking about Ashwin. Ashwin, the T20 bowler, is not a great force in any team. And if you want Ashwin to change, I don't think that's going to happen because he's been like this for the last five-seven years. I can understand us dwelling on Ashwin in Test matches where he's fantastic. Him not playing a single Test match in England was a travesty. But to spend so much time on Ashwin when it comes to IPL and T20 cricket," Manjrekar was quoted as saying on ESPNCricinfo.
"I think he has shown us in the last five years that he's bowled exactly the same and I would never have somebody like Ashwin in my team because if I got turning pitches, I would expect people like Varun Chakravarthy or Sunil Narine or Yuzvendra Chahal and how they do their job, they get you wickets," he added.
'Clever bowler, miscalculated'
Meanwhile, legendary Sunil Gavaskar after the end of match on Wednesday, also explained where Ashwin made a mistake in the final over.
"He (Ashwin) is a very clever bowler. He knew exactly what to bowl to which batsmen. He was reading the batsman's mind. He knew Sunil Narine was going to come up and just go hard at everything, so he bowled him just a little bit wider, and he was caught by the fielder at long-on," Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
"On the final ball, he just miscalculated. He thought Tripathi was going to run down the pitch, and he did not. He bowled a little bit flatter, so it will not be in the arc, in case he rushes down the pitch. But what Tripathi did was what he also anticipated, and he hit a great shot, and a great way to finish," he added.
The dip in Ashwin's form has now raised questions over his selection in India's squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup as he made a return to the national side in T20s after three years. It will be interesting to see whether he gets a place in playing XI or not.