Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion in the India 20-20 World Cup squad came as a surprise to many. Ashwin had not played a lot of white-ball cricket for India before the world cup. Also, there were many youngsters like Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar, who had made a strong case for themselves with fine performances in the Indian T-20 League before the showpiece event. There was Yuzvendra Chahal as well. However, much to the surprise of many, Ashwin was included in the original squad.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has now opened up on Ashwin’s inclusion in the squad. Ganguly revealed that the veteran was added on the request of India skipper Virat Kohli. “I wasn’t sure whether he would be a part of the white-ball (set-up). But then Virat Kohli wanted him in the side. And whatever little bit of opportunity he got, I thought he was superb,” Ganguly said Boria Majumdar’s show ‘Backstage with Boria’.
The former skipper further heaped praise on Ashwin and termed him as one of the greatest spinners of all time. “Look at his Test record, it is phenomenal. It does not need me to say Ravichandran Ashwin is exceptional. His record and his performances show that he is exceptional. And you can’t ignore such players. You cannot just turn your eyes and say that he’s gone. I am not surprised with what he is doing,” said the former Indian captain.
“Everybody speaks about him. Look at Rahul Dravid’s statement after the (Kanpur) Test match – he called him an all-time great and one of the biggest match-winners. You don’t need rocket science to judge Ashwin’s talent. My appreciation just comes from what I see. It may be Ashwin, it may be (Shreyas) Iyer, it may be Rohit (Sharma), it may be Virat(Kohli). And I just say what I see. There is nothing more to it,” he added.
The President also hinted that Ashwin’s appearance in coloured jersey was not a one-off one and the spinner will be in India’s scheme of things for future games as well. “I don’t see a reason why (I shouldn’t back him). Look at the number of winning teams he has been a part of. 2011 World Cup, he was part of the winning team for India. 2013, when he won the Champions Trophy, he was a leading bowler in that tournament,” asserted the 49-year-old.