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T20 World Cup 2021 | Ravichandran Ashwin’s constant exclusion is a mystery to me, says Dilip Vengsarkar

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Ravichandran Ashwin had impressive returns in the warm-ups in build up to the T20 WC 2021 Super 12s

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T20 World Cup 2021 | Ravichandran Ashwin’s constant exclusion is a mystery to me, says Dilip Vengsarkar

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SportsCafe Desk

11/02/2021

Former India captain and chief-selector Dilip Vengsarkar has questioned Ravichandran Ashwin’s exclusion from India’s playing XI at the T20 World Cup 2021. Vengsarkar labelled the team’s performance against New Zealand on Sunday “lacklustre”, and added that the players looked “jaded”.

India’s two straight defeats right at the start of their T20 World Cup 2021 campaign have sparked major selection debates. While questions over Hardik Pandya’s fitness have been constantly thrown up, there have also been discussions about Ravichandran Ashwin’s exclusion.

Ashwin was rather surprisingly called up to India’s 15-member squad for the competition, after having last played in limited-overs international cricket four years ago. He returned 4-0-23-0 and 2-0-8-2 in the warm-up matches against England and Australia respectively, but was overlooked from the starting XI.

Dilip Vengsarkar questioned the off-spinner’s omission from the starting XI, citing his experience and records across formats. Ashwin is India’s leading wicket-taker in T20 World Cups, with 20 scalps at 16.70, while maintaining an impressive economy of 6.18.

"Why is Ashwin being dropped for so long? It is a matter of investigation. Across formats he is your best spinner with more than 600 international wickets. He is your senior most spinner and you don't pick him,” Vengsarkar told PTI a day after India's eight-wicket loss to New Zealand.

"I fail to understand. He didn't play a single game in the England Test series also. Why do you pick him then? It is a mystery to me."

India were outplayed on all fronts against New Zealand in Dubai on Sunday, eventually going down by eight wickets. Being put in to bat, they ended with 110/7, which was chased successfully with 5.3 overs to spare.

Vengsarkar remarked that the players looked “jaded” and cited the bio-bubble fatigue as a possible reason.

"The team looked off coloured and the players looked jaded,” he said. “I don't know if it is bio bubble fatigue or something else, I have not seen such body language in the players in a long time.”

"It was quite a lacklustre performance, be it in batting or bowling. This format demands you to be energetic from ball one."

India’s top-four - Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli - collectively managed 45 off 55, and were each holed out at the boundary while trying to up the scoring. Vengsarkar reflected on the dismissals, and how they hurt the team which is largely dependent on its top order.

"We need to have bigger boundaries in the IPL, especially in India. Most of our batters were caught in the deep yesterday," observed Vengsarkar.

"We are too top-three dependent. When they don't fire, the team is in trouble more often than not. I can't talk about Hardik's fitness sitting here. All I can say is that as an all-rounder if you are not able to contribute with bat and ball, you are going to be under pressure."

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