Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has batted for Ravichandran Ashwin's inclusion in India’s World Cup 2019 squad, saying that a finger-spinner would be as effective as a wrist-spinner in English conditions.
Considering the way wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have become the architects of India’s awe-inspiring show in ODI cricket lately, things look rather bleak for Ashwin to be considered for the showpiece event. He hasn’t featured in a limited-overs game for India since July 2017.
"Both wrist-spinners (Kuldeep and Chahal) have done well in the last one year. But I still feel that Ashwin is somebody we should look at. I've always believed that a quality spinner is a quality spinner irrespective of whether he is a wrist-spinner or a finger-spinner," Gambhir quoted as saying by PTI.
Gambhir cited the example of leading Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who recently returned to the ODI fold following his stellar performances in red-ball cricket.
"He (Lyon) is probably the best off-spinner in the world and he's a finger-spinner. I feel that we should not differentiate because there's a wrist-spinner and so there's no space for a finger-spinner,” Gambhir said.
"I think R Ashwin is someone who we should always consider because we are looking at conditions in England during that time of the year. Wickets could be flat and worn out. So a finger-spinner can be effective with the ball as well," he added.
During the recently held ODI series in Australia, opener Shikhar Dhawan looked a bit rusty and didn’t manage to amass a big score. Commenting on Dhawan, Gambhir said that the southpaw should have played first-class cricket for Delhi since he was not part of the Test series Down Under.
"I am a little disappointed because some of the guys should have played first-class cricket. Being away from Test cricket should have actually pushed them to play first-class cricket,” he remarked.
"Whoever was selected to play (only) white-ball cricket, because it is a World Cup year, I think it should have pushed all these guys like MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu all those who went to Australia - to play first-class cricket," Gambhir concluded.
(With PTI inputs)