"He's Got Class. It's Just That": Rohit Sharma On R Ashwin's World Cup Chances
Rohit Sharma had his say regarding Ravichandran Ashwin's chances of replacing Axar Patel in India's Cricket World Cup squad.
Indian captain Rohit Sharma on Tuesday did not divulge any details on the status of injured Axar Patel but said the rhythm Ravichandran Ashwin showed in the first two ODIs has assured him of back-up options for the World Cup in case of an eventuality. Patel had suffered a left quadricep injury ahead of the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka earlier this month, and is currently recuperating at the NCA. The performance of Ashwin in the first two ODIs against Australia has also sparked the debate whether the veteran off-spinner should make it to India's 15-member squad if Patel fails to recover in time.
The cut-off date for teams to finalise their 15-member WC is September 28.
“He has got the class. He has got the experience of playing the sport and handling the pressure. It is just that he has not played ODIs in the last year or so,” said during the pre-match press meet.
“But you cannot take away the class and the experience the individual has over the years and in the last couple of games we saw how well he bowled,” Rohit said.
Rohit expressed satisfaction over Ashwin's effort and said it indeed gives them an option to fall back upon.
“He has got a lot of variation up his sleeve and in case there is a chance, we can look at a lot of things. Hopefully, the way things are at this point, it does well for us because we have got all the backups ready.
“We have given them enough game-time,” he said.
Rohit, who was rested for the first two ODIs against the Aussies, expressed happiness over the fact that the Indian team has been able to overcome challenges with success.
“I am very happy with the last 10 ODIs that we played. A lot of guys came back into form (by) scoring lots of runs and the bowlers are taking lots of wickets. In the last few games, we saw the guys who came back from injuries have proven their fitness,” he said.
“(We are) pretty much settled…how we stand, where we stand. Now, it is about taking this whole situation forward in the best possible way,” he added.
Both India and Australia have never inflicted series whitewash over each other in ODIs but Rohit said he was not too excited with that prospect, since he has other goals.
“As a skipper, you will not look into all those things as ‘whitewash is on the cards' and things like that. You want to play good cricket and you want to achieve certain things on the field,” he said.
“The last two games, I was not part of them, but I thought we played a lot of good cricket, and achieved a lot of good things.
“We chased in one game, we batted first in the other, got a decent amount of runs and we bowled pretty well in both games,” he added.
Rohit said the third ODI against Australia will give the team a chance to test their consistency.
“Tomorrow's game allows us to test ourselves in certain areas — whether we can keep up with the consistency that we have shown in the last two games,” he said.
Being the captain of world No. 1 team across the three formats is ‘pretty good' but Rohit did not want to rest on laurels.
“It is pretty good (being No. 1) but it does not really matter what kind of ranking you go with or what sort of performances you have had in the past,” he said.
“Yes, it is a positive thing to take forward but sports these days are played at present. We have to play very good cricket in the present day and not worry about what happened in the ranking,” he said.
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