R Ashwin breaks silence on WTC Final omission

Star Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has finally opened up about his omission from the Indian playing XI during World Test Championship final 2023 against Australia. Ashwin was benched during the ‘all-important’ game as seam all-rounder Shardul Thakur was selected ahead of him. India went on to lose the match by 209 runs and lost their second successive WTC final.

Following their defeat, several former cricketers questioned Ashwin’s omission from the playing XI and called it a tactical blunder. However, the off-spinner calls it just a stumbling block in his career and not a setback.

“For me, it’s not a setback. It’s just a stumbling block, I’ll move on because I have gone through that. When somebody knocks you down for the first time, you have a knee-jerk reaction. I think you should be knocked down once in a while along your life so that you are used to it and will know how to bounce back.,” Ashwin told the Indian Express and Hindu.

Further reflecting back on the game, Ashwin said that he would’ve loved to play as he played a part in helping India reach the final. He also said that since 2018, his overseas record has been fantastic as he’s managed to win games for his team.

“I would have loved to play because I have played a part in us getting there. Even in the last final I got four wickets and bowled really well. Ever since 2018-19, my bowling overseas has been fantastic and I have managed to win games for the team. I am looking at it as a captain or coach and I’m just talking in hindsight, in their defence. So the last time when we were in England, it was 2-2 with a drawn Test and they would have felt four pacers and one spinner is the combination in England. That is what they might have thought going into the final,” he added.

Notably, Ashwin was part of the WTC final 2021 against New Zealand, where he finished as the joint-highest wicket-taker for India in the match. The 36-year-old took two wickets in each innings and finished with match figures of 4 for 45 from 25 overs, including ten maidens.

Ashwin has the best average in England among SENA countries

However, despite his good show in the final, he failed to find a place in the five-match away Test series against England in 2021-22 with Shardul Thakur and Ishant Sharma getting the nod ahead of him. He once again shone with the ball in the last WTC cycle 2021-23, finishing as the third-highest wicket-taker of the cycle with 61 scalps in 13 matches.

Among the SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia) countries, Ashwin has the best average in England where he has picked 18 wickets in 11 innings at an average of 28.11. Despite his good numbers, he’s failed to find a place in the XI as he doesn’t fit in the playing combination of the team management.