"Rohit Sharma looks at Ravichandran Ashwin as a match-winner": Saba Karim

Sep 19, 2023

New Delhi [India], September 19 : Former Indian wicketkeeper Saba Karim said that skipper Rohit Sharma went with Ravichandran Ashwin for the ODI series against Australia at home because of his match-winning abilities and attacking mindset. 
India's final assignment before the World Cup at home will be a three ODI series against Australia from September 22 onwards. After this, they will play WC warm-up games against England (September 30) and the Netherlands (October 3). India will then start its World Cup campaign on October 8 against the Aussies at Chennai.
In a conversation on JioCinema’s 'Home of the Blues', Karim weighed in on Ravichandran Ashwin’s return to India’s ODI squad. "I think Rohit Sharma looks at Ravichandran Ashwin as a match-winner and he is very clear in the kind of approach he wants to portray in white ball cricket. Now with the World Cup coming up, he understands the dynamics of one-day cricket quite well and knows that he has to pick players who have that kind of an attacking mindset. He also knows that in his bowling lineup, he needs to have out of six, at least five wicket-taking options and if he has Ashwin in the eleven, then that attacking option is available. If you look at all the other players who are in the reserve – they all have that attacking mindset. So, I think Rohit Sharma wants to continue with this aggressive approach that we saw the Indian team play in the Asian challenge."
Ashwin had last played an ODI last year in January against South Africa. Even then, he had returned to ODIs after June 2017. 
Karim further spoke about Shreyas Iyer's selection in the squad as well. "I am glad that they are persisting with Shreyas Iyer. It really shows that the team management and selectors trust him so much. And Shreyas has played a very vital role in the one-day setup. So, I am happy to see that they are backing him right till they announce the World Cup side. I do not think there should be any issue with him being part of the side if he is fit, even if he does not score runs in these two or three games – it does not matter. You need to back players who have done well for you in the past and they in any case get three ODI games here plus the two practice matches. The kind of player Shreyas Iyer is – I am pretty excited for him to get back into the fold and score runs at the right time for the Indian side."
Notably, Iyer was Men in Blue's leading run-scorer across all formats last year. Iyer ended with 1,609 international runs at an average of 48.75 in 39 matches and 40 innings. He scored one century and 14 half-centuries this year, with a best of 113*.
In five Test matches last year, Iyer scored 422 runs across eight innings at an average of 60.28, with four half-centuries. He ends the year with the best Test score of 92.
In 17 ODIs last year, he scored 724 runs at an average of 55.69. He was extremely consistent in the format, scoring one century and six half-centuries in his 15 innings, with the best score of 113*.
Iyer showed his top form in T20Is too, scoring 463 runs at an average of 35.61 and striking at a strike rate of 141.15. Four half-centuries came out of his bat in the 20-over format in 2022, with best score of 74*.
India squad for first 2 ODI vs Australia: KL Rahul (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja (Vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna
India squad for final ODI vs Australia: Rohit Sharma (C), Hardik Pandya, (Vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel (subject to fitness), Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj.