Thu, 30 Nov 2023

New Delhi [India], September 29 (ANI): Indian spin veteran Piyush Chawla said that compatriot Ravichandran Ashwin is a very "street-smart" cricketer and he will walk into the playing eleven for the first ICC Cricket World Cup match against Australia in Chennai on October 8 because of experience he has of playing in spin-friendly conditions.

On the last day of submitting the squad for the ODI World Cup, India brought in veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in place of injured all-rounder Axar Patel. The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced Ashwin as Axar's replacement on Thursday.

"We all knew that once Axar Patel got injured and was not fit enough for the World Cup, Ravi Ashwin was the straight choice because of his experience and the way he has bowled in the past. It is no surprise. It is a like-to-like replacement as he can bat, is a very decent batter," said Chawla, according to a video by ESPNCricinfo.

Chawla does not think that Ashwin's lack of game time in ODI cricket for the last two years will affect him.

"Ashwin is a street-smart cricketer. He is a very great player. No matter if he is bowling in white-ball or red-ball cricket, he is always thinking about the game. He is always connected to the game. So although he has not played a lot of cricket in ODIs over the last two years, he is a really good bowler and will do good for the team," said Chawla.

"Nobody thought Ashwin would play. But he is walking into the playing eleven straight away against Australia at Chennai which favours spin. He knows how Chennai's conditions are and has played enough cricket there to exploit these conditions," he concluded.

In 2022 and 2023, Ashwin played two ODIs each, taking one and four wickets respectively. He impressed in the recently-concluded ODI series against Australia, where he took three wickets in the second ODI at Indore.

Having played for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) from 2008-2015, Ashwin has the experience and understanding of spin-friendly conditions at Chennai's Chepauk stadium.

In 115 ODIs, Ashwin has taken 155 wickets at an average of 33.20 with the best figures of 4/25.

The injury is no doubt heartbreaking for Axar, who has displayed form with both bat and ball across all formats. In eight ODIs this year, he has taken four wickets with best bowling figures of 2/57 and has scored 132 runs in eight innings at an average of 22.00, with the best score of 22.

Axar sustained a left quadriceps strain during India's Asia Cup Super Four encounter against Bangladesh. Subsequently, the spin-bowling all-rounder missed the final of the Asia Cup as well as India's three-match ODI series against Australia.

India will begin their World Cup campaign on October 8 against five-time Champions Australia. Before the tournament, Rohit Sharma's men will play two warm-up fixtures, the first against England on September 30 followed by the Netherlands on October 3.

India World Cup squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav. (ANI)

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