“Kohli Wanted Him”: Ganguly On Surprise Inclusion In Indias T20 WC Squad

After being considered only for the Test squads in the recent past and having been in and out of the limited-over plans for Team India, Ravichandran Ashwin was eventually selected for the 2021 T20 World Cup. India failed to shine at the event but Ashwin showcased glimpses of what one could expect from the spinner. Recently, newly appointed India coach Rahul Dravid hailed Ashwin and called him a “match-winner” in the longest format of the game. Joining the likes of Dravid was former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, who spoke about the immense contributions made by the all-rounder in the grandest of stages.

Speaking on Boria Majumdar’s show ‘Backstage with Boria’, Ganguly revealed that Ashwin’s inclusion in the T20 World Cup squad was at then-captain Virat Kohli’s insistence.

“I wasn’t sure whether he would be a part of the white-ball (set-up). But then Virat Kohli wanted him in the side. And whatever little bit of opportunity he got, I thought he was superb,” Ganguly said.

Ganguly added why Ashwin’s record, especially in Test cricket, has been exceptional and hard to “ignore”.

“Look at his Test record, it is phenomenal. It does not need me to say Ravichandran Ashwin is exceptional. His record and his performances show that he is exceptional. And you can’t ignore such players. You cannot just turn your eyes and say that he’s gone. I am not surprised with what he is doing,” he said.

“Everybody speaks about him. Look at Rahul Dravid’s statement after the (Kanpur) Test match – he called him an all-time great and one of the biggest match-winners. You don’t need rocket science to judge Ashwin’s talent. My appreciation just comes from what I see. It may be Ashwin, it may be (Shreyas) Iyer, it may be Rohit (Sharma), it may be Virat (Kohli). And I just say what I see. There is nothing more to it,” he added.

Promoted

Ganguly stated that Ashwin’s past performances over the years gave every reason for him to back the spinner in any format. He even pointed out Ashwin’s significant roles in India’s ICC-winning tournaments along with the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“I don’t see a reason why (I shouldn’t back him). Look at the number of winning teams he has been a part of. 2011 World Cup, he was part of the winning team for India. 2013, when he won the Champions Trophy, he was a leading bowler in that tournament. When CSK won IPLs, he was the main bowler for them, bowling in the powerplay and difficult situations,” elaborated Ganguly.

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