'This could be my last World Cup for India': Ashwin's direct confession after replacing Axar in India squad
Ashwin said that enjoying what could be his final World Cup appearance will be his main focus.
At the beginning of September, when BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar had announced India's preliminary team for the World Cup, he did not name any reserve players. He had hinted that it would remain as the final squad unless affected by an injury. And it looked to remain until the Asia Cup when Axar Patel incurred a tear in his quadriceps muscle. He later to failed to recover for the final match of the Australia series, for which he was slated to join the squad and was subsequently ruled out of the tournament. India later named Ashwin as his replacement, who only mark his return to the ODI format last week against Australia after 20 months of absence. (India vs England Live Score, World Cup 2023 warm-up match)
The turn of events over the last few days has even left Ashwin surprised as he laughed off when veteran cricketer and fellow Tamil Nadu teammate Dinesh Karthik asked him about his late World Cup selection during a chat on Star Sports head of the start of the World Cup warm-up match against England at the Barsapara Stadium in Guwahati.
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"I would be saying you are joking," he started off with laughter before adding: "Life is full of surprises and I honestly wasn't thinking I would be here. The trust that the team management has shown and circumstances have made sure I am here today. But enjoying the game has been my prime motive over the last few years and that is what I will be doing in this tournament."
Amid Axar's injury concern, Ashwin and Washington Sundar was called up as his replacement for the Australia series. Sundar had earlier replaced Axar in the Asia Cup final, but it as Ashwin who was given the go in the first two games against the Aussies, where he picked up four wickets with an economical show in both Mohali and Indore, three of which came in the second ODI when he had sparked off a mini collapse.
Speaking to Karthik, Ashwin admitted that as far as bowling his concerned he will be looking to turn the ball both ways and bring in the subtle variations, but added that enjoying what could be his final World Cup appearance will be his main focus.
"All I do is turn the ball both ways and I feel I can already do that. It is all about doing subtle variations and dealing with pressure in these sort of tournaments. Pressure is of paramount importance for most players in these tournament, but how you deal with it dictate how the tournament goes for yourself and the team. As far as I am concerned, being in a good space and enjoying the game will hold me in good stead. I have kept saying this, it could well be my last World Cup for India," he said.
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