Cricket in India is more than just a sport; it's a religion. And among its devoted followers, Ravichandran Ashwin, or R Ashwin as he is fondly known, has earned a special place. However, like all things in the ever-evolving world of sports, his journey in Indian cricket has seen its fair share of ups and downs.
R Ashwin burst onto the international cricket scene in 2010, and almost immediately, he caught the cricketing world's attention with his ability to extract prodigious spin and bounce from even the most benign of pitches.
His rise was meteoric, becoming India's premier spinner and an indispensable part of the team across formats. The top bookmakers have all kinds of player's markets with them.
Ashwin's exploits in Test cricket are the stuff of legend. He has consistently tormented batsmen, both at home and abroad, with his variations, guile, and cricketing intelligence.
He holds numerous records, including the fastest Indian to 300 Test wickets and being the quickest to reach 250 wickets at home. His crafty variations, including the famed ‘carrom ball,' have left some of the world's best batsmen bamboozled.
Despite his incredible success, Ashwin's journey has been far from smooth. He faced criticism for his performances in overseas conditions, where the pitches are less conducive to spin bowling. This led to questions about his effectiveness outside the subcontinent.
While he silenced many critics with notable performances in Australia and England, the debate still lingers.
The dynamics of Indian cricket have changed significantly over the years. With the emergence of young talents like Axar Patel and the comeback of Kuldeep Yadav, Ashwin's place in the limited-overs formats became less secure.
The preference for wrist spinners in ODIs and T20Is meant that Ashwin had to battle for a spot in the playing XI. However, the question of Ashwin’s future again gained spotlight when he was selected for the ODI series against Australia right before the ODI World Cup due to Axar’s injury.
R Ashwin & his Future in White-Ball Cricket
In recent times 37-year-old spin maestro R Ashwin has faced a challenging road in the limited-overs format of cricket. With Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, and Axar Patel part of India’s white ball cricket, Ashwin is slowly getting ignored by the selectors.
Even if he performs exceptionally well in the ongoing series against Australia, Ashwin might not get a chance to be part of the World Cup. While Ashwin has tried to adapt and improve his limited-overs game, the competition remains fierce.
His chances of a consistent spot in the playing XI seem limited, especially with the ever-evolving demands of modern limited-overs cricket.
Ashwin made his comeback to the ODI format after 20 months of absence. In 2 ODIs against Australia, he has picked up 4 wickets and he is expected to be part of the 3rd ODI as well.
However, there has been no confirmation of his presence for the ODI World Cup and if Ashwin misses out on the tournament, we might not see Ashwin playing limited-format again.
R Ashwin & his Future in the Test Cricket
Ashwin's journey in Test cricket has been in stark contrast to his limited-overs career. He has continued to excel in the longest format of the game, becoming India's premier spinner.
His record-breaking performances at home have been crucial in India's success, especially in recent times. However, there is a growing perception that Ashwin may become a Test specialist, with limited opportunities in ODIs and T20Is.
This isn't necessarily a negative development. It could allow him to focus on his strengths and extend his Test career, ensuring that he remains a potent force in the longest format.