'Came back from West Indies and team management said, be ready': Ashwin narrates events leading to ODI call-up before WC
Ravichandran Ashwin is part of the India squad for the ODI series against Australia, that serves as precursor to the World Cup in October-November.
Team India will take part in a dress rehearsal for its 2023 World Cup opener, as the side faces Australia in a three-match ODI series starting September 22. KL Rahul will lead the Indian team in the first two matches as both, Rohit Sharma and his deputy Hardik Pandya have been rested. The series will be India's final bit of bilateral action before the marquee tournament, in which the side also takes part in two warm-up matches (against England and Netherlands). As some of the key players – including batter Virat Kohli – are rested for the first two games, India will test their bench strength and the series also saw the return of star spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to the ODI fold after over a year.
Ashwin had last played for India in January 2022 during the ODIs against South Africa; his return was largely due to the injury to all-rounder Axar Patel, as the BCCI continues to assess his fitness ahead of the all-important World Cup. While many believed that Ashwin's return was sudden, the off-spinner has now revealed that the team management kept him in the loop ever since he returned to India from the West Indies in August.
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India had kickstarted the Windies tour with two Tests, following which Ashwin returned home as the side further took part in three ODIs and five T20Is. Ashwin revealed that the management urged him to be “ready” for an opportunity.
"It is a great opportunity for me. Like I have always said in the last 3-4 years, it's not about what I want to achieve in these opportunities. I want to give myself the best chance to enjoy.
“I came back from the West Indies, took a break, played in a few club games. The team management kept me in the loop, whenever they said there could be chance. Stay ready, just in case. I was touching base with my fitness, started bowling a few sessions,” Ashwin said in a video posted by the BCCI ahead of the first ODI in Mohali.
Kept expectations from myself
Ashwin took part in multiple club matches following his return to India but insisted that he didn't bank on hopes that he would receive a call-up to ODI squad.
“I kept expectations largely from myself. It's easier to deal with expectations when you have them from yourselves. The pride I hold on my performance, my practice. When you have expectations from things you can't control, it's always going to leave you with disappointment. Because it is not in your hands,” said the off-spinner.