Ashwin shines in maiden county stint

The off-spinner took three wickets and scored 36 runs for Worcestershire against Gloucestershire.

R. Ashwin wishes to play all four matches for Worcestershire until the end of the season.   -  AP

R. Ashwin started his maiden county stint on a bright note, taking 3 for 94 and scoring 36 for Worcestershire against Gloucestershire.

With the selectors wanting Ashwin to play a major role in next year’s five-Test series against England, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is likely to allow the Tamil Nadu off-spinner to miss the upcoming limited-overs series against Australia.

“I could be called to play in the Australia series,” Ashwin told ESPNcricinfo.

In that case, Ashwin will get to play only one more match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. “But I have indicated to Bumpy (Steve Rhodes, the Worcestershire direct of cricket) that I will be available for all four games. As of now, there are no communication channels (with BCCI) open but they will be shortly, so I will probably get a clearer idea after the Sri Lanka series,” he said.

‘Dream’

Ashwin clarified he wasn’t participating in county cricket just to gain exposure for India’s tour of England next year. “It’s not just about next year. It’s always been a dream to play county cricket. I grew up watching it on television in India and it has always meant a lot. Spinners have come before and told me it is a must-do experience. I was being rested from the (limited-overs) series (against Sri Lanka), so I thought I might as well come here to get experience,” he said.

However, he is sure that this stint will help him a lot during the 2018 series. “But yes, next year is in the back of my mind and in the back of the mind of the team management back home. With the pace with which the international cricket calendar is set up, you don’t have a long time to prepare. That might even cost you a Test match. So these experiences can be banked upon and, if you can learn faster - which I pride myself upon - the results can come a bit faster,” Ashwin said.