India vice-captain Rohit Sharma has said that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who played his first white-ball match for India after 2017, doesn't just try to survive while on the field. Ashwin was electric against Afghanistan on Wednesday, taking two wickets after spending 14 runs from his 4 overs.
The premier spinner played both the warm-up matches ahead of the Super 12s and was impressive, particularly against Australia where he picked two wickets in the powerplay, giving away just eight runs.
However, mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy was selected ahead of him in the clash against Pakistan and New Zealand which India lost by 10 and 8 wickets respectively. In the must-win game against Afghanistan at Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Wednesday, Ashwin was brought in the playing XI and the vetreran prevailed with his deceptive bowling.
The 35-year-old trapped Gulbadin Naib in front of the stumps before castling Najibullah Zadran to run through the Afghanistan middle-order.
Rohit Sharma was full of praises for the Delhi Capitals spinner, saying that he does not bowl just to survive.
"You saw his quality today, he has played so much cricket now and taken so many wickets. He also knows that it was a challenge for him because he was playing after three or four years. But he was playing IPL consistently and was bowling really well and he is a wicket-taking option," said Rohit in the post-match press conference.
"Every time you give him the ball, he comes to take wickets and is not there to survive or bowl his six balls and get away. When you have someone like him in the squad, it gives us that advantage.
"He understands his bowling really well, he is coming off the IPL in good form. So I am glad that he could contribute to our success today and I hope that he can do the same in the next few games that we play as well," said Rohit.
Rohit Sharma also revealed about that chat he had with Ashwin, India's fourth-highest Test wicket-taker of all time, during the England tour where he did not play after the conclusion of World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand. He was benched for all the four Test match which India played against England.
"The conversation between me and Ashwin throughout the UK tour was where we should take our kids. It was never about cricket, he has got two beautiful daughters, I have got a daughter, and we were only discussing which theme park we should be going to during our off time," he said.
With the 66-run win over Afghanistan, India have brought their Net Run Rate (NRR) in the positive territory, however, team's future at the ICC showpiece event depends entirely on the result of Afghanistan's match against New Zealand on November 7. India would want Afghanistan to beat New Zealanad but with a narrow margin. Also, the Virat Kohli-led side will have to continue to win big in their remaining two matches against Namibia and Scotland.