Rajkot: Indian skipper Rohit Sharma acknowledged the veteran off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin’s cricket prowess and said you can’t take away the “experience and class of him.”
Addressing a press conference ahead of the third ODI against Australia, where he’ll return to lead the side, Rohit showed faith in Ashwin and looked impressed by the team’s performance against Australia in the first two ODIs.
“You cannot take away the class and the experience that the individual has over the years and in the last couple of games we saw how well he bowled,” Rohit said.
“He’s got a lot of variation up his sleeves and in case there is a chance, we can look at a lot of things. So hopefully, the way things are at this point in time, it does well for us because we’ve got all the backups and everything ready as well.”
With two more days before the final squad announcement, Ashwin stands a chance to edge his way into the final squad, as Axar Patel still nursing an injury, that will see him miss the third ODI against Australia as well.
“We have got only 13 players to choose from, so there is a bit of viral [sickness] going around in the team as well, so there is a lot of uncertainty in the team at this point, which we cannot help,” Rohit said.
“The next few weeks, it’s quite important for us to look after the players and their well-being, so it’s okay for them to be home at this point in time, but the reason being obviously we want everybody to be fresh during the World Cup and hopefully they can come back fresh.”
The Indian skipper also pointed out that India has challenged themselves in the Asia Cup and the Australia series to get ready as much as possible for the home World Cup.
“You play all these games and you try to improve whatever you lack. So we have done the same in the last two tournaments. In these two matches that we played with Australia and also in the Asia Cup, we challenged our team by putting ourselves in difficult situations and playing in difficult conditions.
“So I think preparation-wise, we have achieved quite a bit. Tomorrow’s game obviously allows us to again test ourselves in certain areas of the game, whether we can keep up with the consistency that we have, that we have shown in these last two games.
“There is a bigger goal, a bigger picture in mind at this point in time. So focusing on that will be very crucial for us and not worry about whether (we) whitewash (Australia).”
India reached the No.1 position after a massive victory of 99 runs against Australia in the second ODI match of the three ODI series, last week. However, for Rohit, it doesn’t really matter as he aims for the big title.
“It doesn’t really matter what kind of ranking you go within or what sort of performances you’ve had in the past,” Rohit said.
“Yes, it’s a good positive thing to take forward, but you know that the sport these days is played at present. So we got to play very good cricket in the present day, not worry about what has happened in the past, what in terms of the ranking, where we stand, and stuff like that.
“You got to play good cricket and you got to stay in the present. For us, you know, that is very critical. Everybody stays in the present, doing their job, putting their hand up when the team needs them to do it, and things like that.”