Ravichandran Ashwin believes that his opportunity to play in the limited overs format will come as he has hardly made many mistakes in his trade. Praising Virat Kohli’s effective leadership, the spinner commended the skipper for raising the fitness bar high to ensure that players give their best.
India team selectors have largely reserved Ravichandran Ashwin for the Test format in the recent past. After being rested for the Sri Lanka ODI series in August, the bowler was not a part of the Australia series either. His last ODI appearance was against West Indies back in June. After playing through this gap in England’s county cricket, the right-arm off-break bowler begins his Ranji Trophy 2017 campaign now.
The board’s rotation policy and decision to test their bench strength ahead of the 2019 World Cup have become a hindrance in the selection of Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the limited-over squad. And the way Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have performed, the former Chennai Superkings duo has a big challenge in front of them.
However, Ashwin is positive his time will come. "I know one day the opportunity will come knocking on my door because I haven't done too much wrong. When I get that opportunity, I'll probably rise to the occasion," Ashwin said to Cricbuzz on Sunday.
Indian team head coach Ravi Shastri has always maintained that Ashwin and Jadeja have the opportunity to play and make their place in the squad for the 2019 event. However, Chahal and Kuldeep’ wrist spins have been hugely effective and Ashwin feels that Kohli’s preference of wrist spinners over finger spinners could be a reason for his exclusion.
"The day I become a decision maker, I'll probably be in a better position to answer that question. I'm not a decision maker, as of now. I have never played for the crowds. I enjoy my game and even if I am playing a fifth-division match, I'll enjoy it a lot. The atmosphere doesn't matter. Obviously, I'll raise my game to the occasion but I definitely love playing the game so I am not missing anything at all," said Ashwin.
Attention to fitness is a quintessential aspect of the world cricket now and in Indian cricket team, Kohli presents himself as a fine example of it. He also prefers high fitness standards for his teammates that can help them in long term.
Ashwin, who missed the IPL with an injury, has 'trained pretty madly' since then and reckons that any system in place needs to be respected and that he has. He said, "I'm a man of the system. Any system put in place I strive to the best of my abilities to try and match up to it."
"Every leader has his own vision of how to bring the team about… It's very important to respect it. If I was a leader, I would expect everyone else to respect it. I have been doing some great conditioning ever since I missed the IPL (Indian Premier League). I have trained pretty madly. I am completely in compliance with whatever they do," he said.
Ashwin has over 2000 runs, four 100s and eleven 50s in the Test format, but the numbers are below-par in ODIs for him to qualify as an all-rounder. He played 111 ODIs for India and scored 675 runs with an average of 16.07.
"I would have loved to bat higher in a one-day game and try to do justice to my potential... but you never know. I have a fair number of years left in me as a cricketer. I never rule anything out and I never take anything for granted."