Former chief selector Sandeep Patil has welcomed off-spinner R. Ashwin’s inclusion in the place of an injured Axar Patel in the Indian squad for the upcoming ODI World Cup.
Patil, a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian side, said he was not surprised to see the experienced and skilful Ashwin replacing Axar.
“He’s the best off-spinner in world cricket today, and I’m happy to see he is in. I also feel sorry for Axar, who got injured. But then you know, it was a blessing in disguise,” said Patil on Monday, at an event organised here to announce the Shrachi group as East Bengal cricket club’s sponsor for three years.
Patil said even though all-rounder Hardik Pandya and batters Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma would be the trump cards for India, the team would need to play as a unit.
“It’s not an individual game, it’s a team game. If you look at 1983, we had good all-rounders, and in every match, there were different heroes and performers. If you perform as a team in every match, play the role assigned to you and carry out the responsibilities and contribute, that can certainly make things happen.
“We have a fine team, have great balance, and we are in good nick, which is so important. But to sustain that for a long period is difficult. I think mid-tournament, we’ll come to know how the teams have fared and where the teams actually stand.”
Asked to pick the possible semifinalists, Patil said, “India, England, New Zealand and Australia. Pakistan is (the) most dangerous (team), but it’s not consistent. In a longer tournament like the World Cup, a team has to be consistent. As for South Africa, they start well, but then... That’s why they are called chokers.”
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