Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin still hopeful of representing India at the 2019 World Cup

Sudhir Gupta 29/06/2018
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Ashwin still harbors hopes of a World Cup appearance with India.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has not played an ODI for India since June 2017 but that hasn’t stopped him from aiming for the World Cup to be held in England next year.

With almost a year gone since Ashwin was a part of India’s limited-overs plans, the road back for the Chennai man is tough but the No5 ranked Test bowler in the world is ready should an opportunity arise.

“It entirely depends on what other people (team management and selectors) perceive of my cricket,” Ashwin was quoted to as saying by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“It’s definitely not in my control. Like any other cricketer, I want to wear the blue jersey and represent India at the World Cup. That’s obviously there deep within. At this stage of my career, physically and mentally, I am just focusing on enjoying my cricket. If I land an opportunity, I want to be in a good frame of mind to grab it with both hands”, he added.

Ashwin last appeared in the blues of India in a T20 during the side’s tour of West Indies in 2017 after they were crushed by Pakistan in the final of the Champions Trophy in England.

Ashwin and Jadeja have been consigned to playing just Test cricket.

Ashwin and Jadeja have been consigned to playing just Test cricket.

The 31-year-old has so far played 111 ODIs and 46 T20Is for India in his career and has picked up 150 and 52 wickets respectively in the format. Since the rise of wrist-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been confined to the Test format.

While Ashwin still harbors hopes of an ODI recall before the World Cup, the spinner has backed India pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to deliver in India’s upcoming limited-overs clashes against in-form England.

“England is a strong team in the shorter formats. They tweaked their strategy and team combination after the 2015 World Cup. The key for India in ODIs will be Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah’s death overs. Hopefully, it will be a high-scoring series”, he stated.

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India captain Virat Kohli fails again in poor start to tour of Ireland and England

Sudhir Gupta 29/06/2018
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India captain Virat Kohli. Image: BCCI/Twitter.

India captain Virat Kohli failed with the bat for the second straight match as his tour of Ireland and England began on a poor note.

Kohli got out for naught in the first T20 against Ireland in the death overs after openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma had added 160.

The Indians made four changes to the team for the second match on Friday, with Kohli batting with KL Rahul at the top of the order. However, that move did not work out as Kohli looked tentative during his short stay at the crease which ended at nine from eight balls.

Kohli failed to get any timing on three successive balls from pacer Boyd Rankin in the second over, even getting a leading edge.

Then in the third over bowled by Peter Chase, Kohli looked to force the issue and tried to pull the pacer only to get a top edge to square leg, where George Dockrell took a fine catch.

Kohli wanted to get some runs under his belt in English conditions before the tour of England but that hasn’t happened after his neck injury ended a proposed county stint. His last substantial innings in a competitive match was 48 not out for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Kings XI Punjab in the IPL on May 14.

Also, his T20I form has taken a bit of a hit. In his last nine T20I matches, Kohli has scored just one fifty. He has failed to reach double figures in his last three T20I innings.

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India 'A' batsmen Hanuma Vihari and Prithvi Shaw smash centuries against West Indians in tri-series

Sudhir Gupta 29/06/2018
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India 'A' batsman Hanuma Vihari.

India ‘A’ batsmen continued to pile on the runs in the tri-series in England as they piled on 354 for six against West Indies ‘A’ on Friday.

Opener Prithvi Shaw (102 off 90 balls) registered his second List A century of the tour while middle order batsman Hanuma Vihari cracked 147 from 131 balls with the help of 13 fours and five sixes as the Indians scored their second 300-plus score in three matches batting first.

India ‘A’ were reduced to 28-2 in Northampton before Shaw and Vihari added 160 runs for the third wicket.

Contributions lower down the order from Deepak Hooda (21), Vijay Shankar (28) and Ishan Kishan (21) took the team past the 350-run mark.

Shaw’s return to form at the top of the order is encouraging. After scoring a century and a fifty in the warm-up matches, Shaw managed seven and 27 in the first two matches of the tri-series. His ton against the Windies will keep the diminutive batsman on the radar of the senior team management as Virat Kohli’s team are in England for nearly three months.

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