Ravichandran Ashwin is India captaincy material: Joe Dawes
Before the start of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018, Ravichandran Ashwin vowed to be at his ‘unpredictable best’ as Kings XI Punjab captain. Ashwin said he would try and use his experience to be proficient in his job. The results have been positive. He’s taken a team that finished eighth, eighth and fifth in their last three IPL seasons closer to the play-offs.
One of the standout characteristics of Ashwin’s captaincy has been the faith he has shown in his bowlers. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Andrew Tye have gone for runs in a few matches but Ashwin’s backing is one of the reasons why they feature among the top wicket-takers in the tournament. Tye has 20 wickets from 11 games while Mujeeb has 14.
Ashwin has even taken some major decisions like dropping David Miller, Yuvraj Singh and Aaron Finch. Chris Gayle, who went unsold at the auctions before being picked by the Punjab-based franchise in the final round, has been utilised well.
Australia’s Joe Dawes, former India bowling coach, feels if the occasion arises Ashwin would do well as India captain.
“As captain, I think he (Ashwin) will excel (at the international level). Once he finds his feet, he will do a good job because he has a great cricketing brain,” said Dawes.
Dawes, who worked with the India team from 2012-2014, also spoke about Ashwin’s eagerness to develop new deliveries and his idea to try leg-spin could help him get more success.
“Ashwin is a unique cricketer. He loves to try out new things and tinker with what he has. There were times as coach I would have loved him to keep things simple but this is what makes him tick and has helped him become one of the best spinners.
“As coach, you should encourage players to add skills to their game as long as it does not take away from their core game,” he added.
Shami, Umesh for World Cup
In the last one-and-half-years, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav have been preserved for Tests while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been the mainstays in ODIs and T20s.
With the World Cup a year away, India’s plan B in fast bowling doesn’t seem to be in place. But Dawes is confident Shami and Umesh can get the job done.
“They have given opportunities to a number of fast bowlers in recent times like Shardul (Thakur), Bumrah to go with Shami, and the pairing of Umesh and Bhuvneshwar. I’m confident the experienced guys will step up when required.
Asked if IPL is the right platform for a young bowler who has played at the U-19, U-18 level but is yet to play domestic cricket, Dawes said: “They have expectations, not only from their families, but also from themselves and sometimes we see a lot fail early. But cricket is about taking your chances. If a young Indian can come into IPL and do well, he is in a good position to play domestic and international cricket.”