‘If I was selector, I would have brought him back’: Vengsarkar vouches for veteran India spinner’s return in ODIs, T20Is

Watching Indian spinner get carted all over the park on Friday by England batsmen was not a pleasant sight, especially for former India batsman and ex BCCI chief of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar. In the second ODI between India and England, the visitors made a mockery of India’s 337-run target, gunning it down with six wickets and 39 balls to spare. India’s spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya had an evening to forget, combining to leak 156 runs in 16 overs.

With India’s spinners appearing out of sorts, including Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar, and there not being too promising spinners in the domestic circuit who can push for a lot in the team, Vengsarkar feethe need of the hour is to bring back veteran off-spinner R Ashwin in the mix for limited-overs cricket. Ashwin has been in stellar form for India in Tests, with Vengsarkar stating that if it was up to him, India’s fourth-highest Test wicket-taker would have already made a return back to the ODI and T20I sides.

“If I were the chief selector (now), I would have brought Ashwin back (to the white ball set-up). Why not? Because he is such an experienced bowler and he has variety. As they say, spinners mature late and he has done so well over the years. He is in terrific form in red-ball cricket. I think it will suit the team if he is brought back,” Vengsarkar told The Sunday Express.

Ashwin last played limited overs cricket for India in July of 2017, in a T20I against West Indies in Jamaica. Ever since, Ashwin has been sidelined and the bulk of India’s spin responsibilities have been shared by Kuldeep and Chahal. However, with the duo seeming ineffective at the moment, and Ravindra Jadeja currently recovering from a broken finger, Vengsarkar believes Ashwin is the secret of India’s puzzle.

“Washington Sundar is no match if you compare him with Ashwin purely as a bowler. Where is the comparison? Players of “the same discipline”, however, have featured in the Indian squad before the Ravindra Jadeja-Axar Patel combo was a case in point. So why not Washington and Ashwin? “Yeah, absolutely. In the ODIs, when the spinners bowl, their job is to get wickets in the middle overs,” Vengsarkar said.

“If they fail to get wickets, then the opposition can score a huge total, with wickets in hand. So basically, Ashwin’s job will be to get wickets and he is good at that. The variety he has, he would be a very good attacking option and very few can match his variety. As far as spinners are concerned, you don’t contain the batsmen (in this format), especially in the middle overs,” Vengsarkar added.”

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