India skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday said that Ravichandran Ashwin was included in the team's T20 World Cup squad as the off-spinner has managed to revive his white-ball game.
India will open its campaign in the upcoming T20 World Cup against Pakistan on October 24 at the Dubai International Stadium. Ashwin had last played a T20I for the Men in Blue in 2017, but the selectors named him in the squad looking at his experience and performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"Yes, definitely. The one thing Ashwin has improved on is his bowling with courage. You have seen in the IPL over the last two years that he has bowled the difficult overs against the biggest hitters. He has not been shy to put the ball in the right areas, Ashwin has believed in his skillset. And we felt the way he was bowling with variations, he is a guy who has played a lot of international cricket," said Kohli during a Captain's Call organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) ahead of the upcoming Men's T20 World Cup.
"So, hence Ashwin has been rewarded for reviving his white-ball skills altogether. He was a regular feature for us back in the day but he fell off, finger spinners with accuracy have come back into the game. So we also need to evolve as a team," he added.
Talking about the exclusion of Yuzvendra Chahal from the squad, Kohli said: "It was a challenging call but we decided to back Rahul Chahar for a reason. He has bowled amazingly well over the last couple of years in the IPL. A guy who bowls with pace, he did really well in Sri Lanka and against England at home as well, he was someone who bowled those difficult overs."
"We believe going on in this tournament, the wickets are going to get slower and slower, so guys who bowl with pace will be able to trouble the batters as compared to those who give it air. Rahul definitely has those strengths naturally as a leg-spinner. He is someone who always attacks the wickets, that is the factor that tilted the thing in favour of him. Picking a World Cup is always tricky and you cannot always have everyone in that squad," he added.
Talking about the match against Pakistan, the India skipper said: "I can talk from personal experience. I have always approached this game like any other game. I know there is a lot of hype created around this game, more so with ticket sales and the demands of tickets. Right now, the value of those tickets are ridiculously high. Apart from that, I do not think we make anything extra out of this game. For us, it is just about a game of cricket that has to be played in the right way."
"From the fans of point of view, it is definitely louder. But from players point of view, we stay professional and approach it in the normal way manner," he added.
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