India captain Virat Kohli on Saturday said that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was included in the men's T20 World Cup squad due to him reviving his skills in white-ball cricket. He pointed out that Ashwin has improved upon bowling with courage.
"Yes, definitely. One thing Ashwin has improved on is bowling with courage. You have seen in the IPL in the last two years that he's bowled difficult overs and is not shy of putting balls in right areas. Ashwin believes in his skillsets. With his variations and control of pace, he is a guy who has played a lot of international cricket and is at his confident best," said Kohli in a Captain's Call organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) ahead of the mega event.
"So, Ashwin has been rewarded for reviving his white ball skills. He was a regular feature for us back in the day but fell off because wrist spinners were in demand. But now finger spinners have come back with accuracy. Ash and Jadeja have done really well. They know exactly what to do in which situation," added Kohli.
Asked about pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kohli mentioned that the experience and accuracy he brings is priceless for the Indian team. "His economy rate still continues to top notch, something which he has always been known for. His experience comes to the fore under pressure. Like, he had to close out the match in the last over against AB de Villiers in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad. It spoke volumes of what experience Bhuvi brings on the field. Just the understanding of hitting areas according to the dimensions of the field, what balls to bowl at what time and even the fact that he bowls lengths so well and consistently, which is not an easy thing to get away in T20 cricket. Especially with the new ball, it's quite an underrated thing."
"So, I think his experience and accuracy have always been priceless for the team. He is back to being at full fitness which augers really well for our team. I am sure that with the new ball, he will definitely get some kind of assistance through the tournament. Whatever little is there on offer, Bhuvi knows how to make the maximum use out of that. So, as I said, his experience is going to be priceless for us."
Kohli explained why young leg-spinner Rahul Chahar was preferred over an experienced Yuzvendra Chahal in the T20 World Cup squad. "It was a difficult and challenging call. But we decided to back Rahul Chahar. He has bowled amazingly well in the last couple of years in the IPL. A guy who bowls with pace, he did well really well in Sri Lanka and against England at home as well. He was someone who has bowled difficult overs. We believe going on in the tournament, wickets are going to get slower and slower."
"So, guys who bowl with a lot more pace will be able to trouble batsmen than the ones who give it air. Rahul definitely has those strengths naturally. He attacks stumps and bowls with pace along with that dip and balance. Not taking anything from Chahal. But with a limited number of spots, you can't fit all in the squad," signed off Kohli.
( 568 Words)