Mumbai : Struggling R Ashwin has not been given his full quota of overs by Rising Pune Supergiants captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a few IPL matches this season but former India pacer Ajit Agarkar does not view it as a sign of lack of faith in the off-spinner.
Asked whether Dhoni lacked faith in Ashwin, Agarkar said it was mainly to do with the match conditions and situations than anything else.
“At times it may seem odd but I don’t think it is due to any lack of faith. When Pune came to Mumbai (to take on Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium last month), it was a seamers’ wicket and Ashwin’s bowling was not needed,” Agarkar told reporters at a meet and greet session.
Ashwin bowled just one over for one wicket in that IPL opener on April 9 that RPS won easily after restricting the home team and title holders to 121 for 8.
“You have to remember that when the IPL games were played in spin-friendly conditions in Chennai, he used to open the bowling. The conditions matter,” Agarkar added.
Agarkar is among the four-member ex-cricketers’ panel – Australia’s Dirk Nannes, South Africa’s Darryl Cullinan and New Zealand’s Iain O’Brien being the others – which conducts the IPL-related show “The Friendly Toast”, presented by cricket website ESPNCricinfo, daily on Sony ESPN channel.
It’s ‘conditions’, is what Agarkar feels
A controversy had arisen post the World T20 championship in which India were knocked out by eventual champions West Indies in the semi final here on March 31 after Ashwin bowled only two overs for 20 runs in the power-play and then was not brought on to bowl again by Dhoni.
Ashwin got peeved when asked about it at the pre-match media conference here before RPS took on Mumbai Indians and gave a tongue lashing to the journalist who had asked the question whether he found it difficult to bowl following the dew-fall, the reason cited by Dhoni for the ineffectiveness of the Indian spinners.
“When there was dew, I didn’t bowl. It’s better you ask the question to someone who actually bowled. To be very honest, I don’t know how it felt with the dew on. It’s very amusing. Because in the first 12 balls I bowled, I created a wicket-opportunity as well. It’s quite surprising how you phrase your question,” India’s top spin bowler had retorted.
The raging debate has continued with Dhoni not utilising Ashwin’s bowling to the fullest extent in the IPL too so far. He has bowled 30 overs in 10 games, instead of the full quota of 40, and has only three wickets to show for.
In the last game that RPS lost against RCB on May 7, the off spinner was brought on to bowl the 17th over for a lost cause as RCB easily chased RPS’s total of 191.