Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image: Twitter)

The T20 World Cup selection for Ravichandran Ashwin is a reward for him for “reviving his white-ball skills altogether”, India skipper Virat Kohli said on Saturday.

The selectors sprung up a surprise by recalling R Ashwin to the T20I squad for the upcoming event. Also, with Washington Sundar missing out due to injury, Ashwin seemed to be India’s best bet as an off-spinner.

Virat Kohli asserted that Ashwin has been “bowling with courage” during the past seasons of IPL. Ashwin last played a T20I in 2017. While he has become a red-ball legend, his white-ball game was seen only during the IPL.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin
(Image Credit: Getty)

Ashwin picked up 15 wickets in the 2019 IPL and 13 wickets last season. His performance this season, 7 wickets in 13 matches, was not great but the Indian team would back him, especially with the new ball.

“Yes, definitely. The one thing Ashwin has improved on is his bowling with courage. You have seen in the IPL over the last two years that he has bowled the difficult overs against the biggest hitters. He has not been shy to put the ball in the right areas, Ashwin has believed in his skillset. And we felt the way he was bowling with variations, he is a guy who has played a lot of international cricket,” said Kohli during a Captain’s Call organised by the ICC ahead of the tournament.

Finger spinners with accuracy have come back into the game: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli further highlighted that the exclusion of Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from the white-ball teams earlier was because of the emergence of leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

However, the pair was broken and both have now been dropped from India’s squad. The skipper believes that the off-spinner, Ashwin in this case, have again found ways to again become threatening in T20 cricket.

R Ashwin And Ravindra Jadeja
R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Image-PTI

“So, hence Ashwin has been rewarded for reviving his white-ball skills altogether. He was a regular feature for us back in the day but he fell off, finger spinners with accuracy have come back into the game. So we also need to evolve as a team,” he added.

There has been one change to India’s initial 15-man squad: Shardul Thakur has replaced Axar Patel in the squad.

India will take on Pakistan in their opening encounter on October 24 in Dubai. They will then meet New Zealand, Afghanistan, and two other teams who will qualify from Round 1 in the Super 12 stage.

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