India’s No. 2 bowler in Tests, as per the ICC rankings, Ravichandran Ashwin, was excluded from the limited-overs squad that was announced on Sunday for the first three ODIs against Australia.
Ashwin, who’s in England playing county cricket, wasn’t part of the limited overs squad that recently whitewashed a struggling Sri Lankan side.
But his exclusion from the ODIs isn’t a concern for the legendary spinner Bishan Singh Bedi as he believes “he’s (Ashwin) a class above (the rest).”
“If I was Ashwin, I'd not lose my sleep over (not playing ODIs and T20s)," said Bedi. "He's an intelligent bowler."
With Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav picking up 14 wickets between themselves at a sub-five economy rate during the ODIs against the Lankans, India didn't miss Ashwin much.
A lot, Bedi says, has been written about the off-spinner. “But it's all about wickets, wickets, wickets. That's just one part of Ashwin's game.” What impresses Bedi the most is Ashwin’s IQ and attitude towards the game.
Bedi, however, feels Ashwin can improve his physical fitness and bowl more. “If you’re bowling 4 overs in a T20 game, then you must bowl 12 overs in practice sessions. If you're bowling 25-30 overs in Tests, then you must be able to bowl three times that in practice.” This, he says, will increase control and confidence of a bowler.
The perception that Ashwin fails in away games, Bedi feels, is “media hype.” With Ashwin's talent, he believes he'd do well away as well. And, if the off-spinner wants to prove that he can do well in England, South Africa, and Australia, then, Bedi says, he must do so in Tests rather than limited overs.
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