Ace India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been selected in the Indian squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against Windies.
Ashwin was declared fit for selection after he completed his rehabilitation programme at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.
The 32-year-old had aggravated a hip injury during India's tour of England in August-September and was left out of the fifth Test.
The right-arm off-spinner faced a lot of criticism for his underwhelming performance in the fourth Test at Southampton, where he only managed to bag three wickets across two innings.
Ashwin carried the injury from the third Test at Trent Bridge – where India registered their first win of the series after losing the first two – into the penultimate Test.
The successful Test return of his opposite number, England's Moeen Ali, meant Ashwin's performance came under major scrutiny.
His inclusion in the team raised several eyebrows in the cricketing fraternity and the decision to play a seemingly half-fit Ashwin became a major talking point in the press.
The Chennai-based spinner sent down nearly 52 overs (51.5 overs) while Moeen Ali bowled exactly 52 overs (the most in the Test).
R Ashwin told Cricketnext in an interview, "The injury was very frustrating. It happened in Trent Bridge (third Test, which India won to reduce the deficit to 1-2). For me, it was all about wanting to make the series two-all. The injury was a hampering factor but I have never played my cricket that way, saying something bad happened because of an injury. I took it upon myself to try and win the game for the team. It didn’t work out but I wouldn’t say I bowled too badly, either. Obviously, when you compare with the spinner (Moeen Ali) who bowled from the other team, it looks like that (that he himself didn’t bowl well). But if my body had been better, I might have coped with it better."
Ashwin conceded that he didn't deliver the killer blow that would have helped his side in the Test, but did not agree to the fact that he wasn't hitting the rough patches as much as Moeen Ali did. Instead, he felt that when India batted, England had the upper hand on the game in both innings, terming the scenarios completely different. He was pleased with his bowling effort in England, however, he admitted that his injury did hamper him, calling it 'frustrating'.
Indian selectors have included Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja alongside Ashwin for two-match Test series against the Windies starting 4 October in Rajkot.
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