Kohli on Ashwin’s frequent injuries: The Indian captain claimed the injured off-spinner to be ‘important’ for the team.
India’s premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin getting frequently injured on overseas tours has become a source of concern for the Indian team. Ashwin, who contributes significantly in both batting and bowling, is a key player for India in Test matches whose absence midway an overseas tour leaves the team searching for replacements.
Speaking to the media ahead of the fourth Test at Sydney, India captain Virat Kohli cited Ashwin’s injuries as ‘unfortunate’. “Well, it’s unfortunate that he has had two niggles quite similar in the last couple of away tours,” Kohli said.
“That’s obviously him, more than anyone else, who will be focused to correct. The physio and the trainer have spoken to him in terms of what’s required in order to get over that injury,” he further said.
Kohli also said that Ashwin is a ‘vital’ part of the Test team and is ‘important’ for sure. “He is very important for sure. In Test cricket he is a vital part of this team, and we want him to be 100% fit and for a longer period so that he can contribute to us more in the Test format.
“He is very disappointed with the fact that he has not been able to recover in time, but the things have been laid out to him [as to] what needs to be done to get back to full fitness. Honestly, you can’t predict an injury, when it happens you just manage and doing what he can to get over that injury,” Kohli added.
In Ashwin’s absence, Kohli has found a manageable replacement in middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari. In three Test matches, Vihari’s offbreaks have dismissed five batsman at an average of 26 and an economy rate of 2.92. Kohli acknowledged that Vihari can be the go-to person till Ashwin doesn’t regain full fitness.
“It is obviously a disappointment for us as a team and for him personally, but if you see the way Vihari has bowled he has looked like picking up a wicket whenever he comes to bowl.
“He’s pitching the ball in the right areas so we are looking at him as a solid bowling option right now. Especially in this Test because he has pace on the ball, he puts in the effort and he’s economical and that’s all you need from a guy who is coming in to bowl 10-15 overs in a day,” Kohli concluded.
Read some of the latest Twitter reactions on Ashwin below:
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) January 2, 2019
11:55am – Ravi Ashwin is ruled out of SCG Test
2:09pm: Ravi Ashwin named in 13-man squad for SCG Test
— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) January 2, 2019
— CricketNDTV (@CricketNDTV) January 1, 2019
Bit of a u-turn regarding Ashwin as per latest update from @BCCI:
— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) January 2, 2019