Ashwin throws down 2016 World T20 numbers to defend T20 credentials
R Ashwin has played 125 Indian T20 League matches. (AFP Image)

Out of India reckoning in the shorter formats for almost two years, R Ashwin backed his credentials as a formidable force in T20 cricket by throwing down statistics from the 2016 World T20 in India. Ashwin, the Punjab captain, mentioned that he performed ‘extraordinarily’ in the ICC tournament, despite picking up just four wickets from five matches. (READ: Ashwin and Punjab look to exploit Smith’s rustiness)

“In terms of the T20 format, my stats are at 6.72 [6.85 as per records] as my economy rate and I’ve played highest number of games in the IPL alongside Harbhajan [Singh],” Ashwin said in Jaipur ahead of his team’s T20 opener against Rajasthan. “The last T20 World Cup, I played extraordinarily for my side and won Man of the Match in a game as well. That’s where I’d like to rest my case.” (READ: Ashwin not bothered about ODI selection)

Ashwin, who has the maximum number of wickets for India in T20Is, last represented India in the shorter formats in July 2017, against West Indies at Kingston, and has since been pushed to the sidelines with wristspinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal presenting their case and almost cementing their place in India’s limited-overs set-up.

India captain Virat Kohli had mentioned how he already has the team’s Playing XI in mind for the World Cup, but the offspinner believes a good performance might just lead to some surprise inclusions when the squad for the ICC event is announced.

“Although I think the formats are very different, adapting will be the key. This time we do have a big break between the IPL and World Cup so whoever is in good form is going to get a place,” Ashwin said.

That said, it is highly unlikely for Ashwin to receive a ticket to England, considering the number of spin options India have. Besides frontline spinners Kuldeep and Chahal, the likes of Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja and Krunal Pandya are also in the mix, and Ashwin admitted that India can benefit aplenty with cricketers handy with both bat and ball.

“India have a number of multi-utility cricketers. These are players who excel in one skill and constantly work on other skills as well,” Ashwin agreed. “In the Indian team, there’s Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar. Even Suresh Raina was an allrounder at a point. And there’s me and Jadeja who bowl as well as bat. Nowadays cricketers are very aware that you’ve to contribute both ways.”