'This is not a trial for him' - Rahul Dravid on the inclusion of star all-rounder
The injuries to the key players before the mega events have been one of the major problems for India in the last few years. While this has been the case with almost every team, India have probably been through this more than anyone else. The injuries have tempted the team management to recall out-of-flavour or fringe players in the squad in the last few events.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s sudden inclusion in the Indian team for the three-match ODI series against Australia is one of those cases. The injuries to Axar Patel in the recently-concluded Asia Cup have put his fitness under threat. Initially, Washington Sundar flew to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup final as an injury replacement for Axar, and now Ashwin has been called out of nowhere.
The head coach of the Indian team, Rahul Dravid, has given Ashwin’s handy lower-order batting as a justification for his inclusion. Axar, if he plays, is supposed to do a similar job for the Men in Blue in white-ball cricket. Since Axar’s place is not confirmed due to wounds now, the team sees Ravichandran Ashwin as a potential replacement player.
It’s worth noting that there were no off-spinners in the original World Cup squad, and if Axar regains his fitness, India will go without such bowlers as well. With Ravindra Jadeja already in the team and Axar on the sidelines, India look at Ashwin as a decent replacement player. For the record, Ashwin’s previous ODI came in January last year.
Rahul Dravid provides the reason behind Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion
Ahead of the three-match ODI series against Australia, the head coach of the Indian team, Rahul Dravid, addressed the press and answered several queries. In the same interview, Dravid provided the reason behind the last-minute inclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin. According to Dravid, Ashwin’s experience might be beneficial to the team.
“Yeah, I think having someone of Ashwin's experience to come back is always good for us. Look, I think someone like Ashwin provides you that experience, that ability to be able to also contribute to the bat at number eight,” stated Dravid at the conference.
Dravid also added that the Australia series is not a trial for Ravichandran Ashwin, and he is playing only to get used to this format and be prepared if any injury occurs.
“We know his (Ashwin’s) quality. This is not a trial for him. But it will be an opportunity for him to play in this format. To just see that he is playing this format and playing many games in this format. We just want to give him that opportunity to be able to play 2 or 3 games, if required, before the World Cup.”