Ravichandran Ashwin last played a T20I against New Zealand when the two teams faced off in a bilateral series in November last year.
Former India batter Mohammad Kaif has questioned the absence of all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin from India’s playing XI against South Africa in the first T20I.
Ashwin, who was recently part of the IPL 2022 finalists Rajasthan Royals (RR), picked up 12 wickets and scored 191 runs in the cash-rich league but failed to break into the Indian team for the Thursday encounter which the hosts lost by seven wickets.
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“Both India and South Africa have great squads. But in the Indian team, there is Chahal, Bishnoi, Axar. Where will you play the three leg-spinners? If you see the squad’s balance, how can you play three leg-spinners in the team? I was somewhat disappointed to not see the name of R Ashwin. He was part of the team in the 2021 T20 World Cup and his current form is brilliant,” Kaif was quoted as saying by Sportskeeda during an interview.
“In place of three leg-spinners, if you would have omitted one among then and played Ashwin instead, there would have been variation. The captain then has that option. He is bowling and batting really well. On that front, I think what is the role of three leg-spinners?”, Kaif continued.
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After a four-year absence, Ashwin made a return to international limited-overs cricket in the T20 World Cup last year. He had taken six wickets from three games as India suffered a group-stage exit. The Tamil Nadu cricketer has taken 61 wickets in 51 T20Is.
Ashwin last played a T20I against New Zealand when the two teams faced off in a bilateral series in November last year.
The next T20I between India and South Africa will be played in Cuttack on Sunday.
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