‘Big match player’ Ashwin needs to be in India’s Playing XI: Graeme Swann

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30 Oct 2021 | 04:17 PM
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‘Big match player’ Ashwin needs to be in India’s Playing XI: Graeme Swann

The former England off-spinner has also backed the Men in Blue to stage a strong comeback

Graeme Swann wants India to draft Ravichandran Ashwin into the Playing XI for the New Zealand clash, and believes the experienced off-spinner could ‘really turn up and perform’ in what is a must-win game for the Men in Blue. 

Ashwin impressed in the warm-up games ahead of the World Cup, returning combined figures of 2/31 across matches against England and Australia, but was left out of the starting XI against Pakistan, in which team India failed to pick a single wicket. 

Swann, previewing the India-New Zealand encounter exclusively on Cricket.com, stated that he would love to see India field three-spinners, and claimed that Ashwin could potentially come into the side in place of either a seamer or Hardik Pandya.

“I would love to see Ashwin play, personally. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have all three spinners playing,” Swann said exclusively on Cricket.com, previewing the New Zealand clash.

“Who he plays for, probably one of the seamers or maybe Hardik Pandya if he is not going to bowl. I’m very biased towards spin so I would love to see Ashwin. He is a brilliant bowler, he’s got a lot of variation and he is a big time player - he can really turn up and perform in a must-win game.”

India, in the clash against Pakistan, also used the services of mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy in the powerplay, but Swann believes the Tamil Nadu man would be better off just bowling in the middle-overs. Chakravarthy, according to Swann, could make a match-turning impact in the middle-overs due to the pressure that he would be able to exert.

“I don’t like the spinners bowling in the powerplay unless you’ve got someone like a Shakib who is brilliant at it. Because it’s almost a defensive move, as you’re trying to just stop being hit for boundaries. I don’t like someone like a Varun Chakravarthy bowling in the powerplay because I think if you bring him on after the sixth over, he can bowl you 4 overs for 10 runs and 2 or 3 wickets.” 

The move to introduce Chakravarthy early was indeed tied to the Men in Blue’s powerplay woes, with them, quite flabbergastingly, having picked 2 ore more wickets only twice in their previous 20 T20I games. Swann believes India will need to ‘do better’ in the crucial first phase of the game.

“That (lack of wickets in the powerplay) is an issue for India. They’ve got to do better there.”

Both New Zealand and India have played only one match each, but with Pakistan having run away with 3 wins, and with Afghanistan posing a serious threat, defeat on Sunday could spell disaster for either side. India are yet to beat New Zealand in a T20 World Cup game, but Swann reckons India have the experience and firepower to bounce back from the Pakistan defeat.

India, Swann believes, is currently a side the Kiwis would simply not want to be coming up against. 

“I never look at history. I just look at the present. This Indian team is going to be absolutely pumped. I just think they have got the experience and have got the players who are going to bounce back from the Pakistan loss. I’m not having a go at New Zealand - they are an underrated team - but if I was personally playing Cricket, the last team I would wanna play currently is the Indian side.”

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India vs New ZealandICC World Twenty20, 2021IndiaNew ZealandGraeme SwannRavichandran AshwinVirat KohliVarun Chakravarthy

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