The last time R. Ashwin featured in an ODI was almost a year ago. In fact, if (read when) Ashwin walks in with the India jersey during the first of the three ODIs against England at the Maharashtra Cricket Association on Sunday, it will be exactly a year after his last ODI appearance.
But the off-spinner, adjudged the ICC Cricketer of the Year for his stellar show in 2016, doesn’t see not having played ODIs for a long time as a problem, before getting into the strides. “It’s more of a mental switch, I'd say. We played T20s in America in between, that was a bit of a good switch. I thought I switched up pretty well,” Ashwin said on Wednesday.
“I am sure it is going to be a challenge. We are going to get into the practice. Next three, four days is going to be very, very important. I tried to tick as many boxes as possible when I practiced in Chennai. But nothing like game time. It’s almost like getting back into a different format. Having said that, these practice sessions will be very important.”
With the phenomenal year he has had over the last 12 months, with both bat and ball, Ashwin is expected to continue his exploits in the new year. Is he carrying the additional burden of his last year’s performance in 2017? “I don’t think there’s excess baggage. It’s a good baggage, I’d reckon,” he said.
“It’s been a good year as far as I'm concerned. But the year is done and dusted. Can’t rest on your laurels a lot. The game doesn’t give you that much time these days. It’s very important to dust it up and get on with the game. As far as I am concerned, 2017 is a new year and I am going to start off afresh and try and get a good start.”
In England, India has a tough opponent in its last ODI assignment prior to the Champions Trophy, to be staged in England in June.
“I think this England side has played some cracker of One-Day tournaments in the last year or so. They've made some mammoth scores in England as well. So, they are a side which will look to be positive. Because of the advent of T20 cricket, in ODI cricket there are hardly dull overs,” he said. “You can say 5-6 overs can be dull in the middle phase but teams are predominantly looking to dominate. It also depends on the sort of wickets we get, how flat they are and all that. Hopefully if we can strike early in the game, the games can be slowed down in the middle overs.
“I think we’re playing a full strength Indian team after a long time. I don't know when we played a full strength side. We also have Yuvi back in the side. So that's also going to add to your experience.”
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