Like all good things have to come an end, India’s winning streak against Pakistan in world cups (50 overs and T20 put together) had to be halted. The much-hyped Indo-Pakistan match in the ongoing T20 World Cup in Dubai on Sunday night was more of a whimper than a contest as Virat Kohli’s men were outclassed
There will be a lot talked about the defeat, especially because it came against our biggest rivals. The team combination would be one of the many to be discussed.
There was a player from Tamil Nadu in the playing XI — Varun Chakravarthy. But the mystery spinner could not make any impact as the Pakistan openers simply toyed with the Indian bowling.
Chakravarthy, who has bamboozled the best batters in the Indian Premier League (IPL) was expected to be the trump card but he could not cause any damage. The Chennai-based bowler was economical to start with but was not able to break the opening partnership. As Chakravarthy and the other Indian bowlers struggled in the middle, another Tamil Nadu bowler – R Ashwin with loads of experience, sat watching in the dugout. Maybe, he could have made a difference.
Ashwin is known to be a thinking bowler and could probably have been the answer Kohli was looking for when the Pakistan batters were going strong. The defeat in the opener could probably see the two Tamil Nadu bowlers operate in tandem in the next match. While off-spinner Ashwin is known to try different things and also out-think the opposition batters, Chakravarthy, an architect-turned-cricketer, is a mystery bowler who has kept batters guessing with his variations.
The duo could probably help turn around the Indian team’s fortunes, if given an opportunity to feature in the eleven together. The lacklustre performance of all-rounder Hardik Pandya did not help the team’s cause and instead exacerbated the skipper’s problems in the absence of a sixth bowling option.
Ashwin has done well as far as bowling records go in the T20 World Cups and could have been given a go in the opener against Pakistan. He has fallen behind Ravindra Jadeja in the pecking order and will have wait to earn his spot in the playing 11.
Though his batting may not compare favourably with Jadeja when it comes to T20s, Ashwin is far ahead in terms of bowling skills and keep the opposition guessing. However, the team has preferred Jadeja over the experienced Tamil Nadu star to the surprise of many. One has to remember that Ashwin is back in the Indian white ball squad after nearly four years with the think-tank opting for Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the interim.
India probably missed a trick by not picking Ashwin in the XI for the Pakistan game and would consider fitting him in in the next outing. It is possible that the two Tamil Nadu spinners could spin a web around the New Zealanders on October 31 and put the country’s campaign in the world cup back on track.
Ashwin is probably the best cricketer to emerge from Tamil Nadu with his record in Test cricket and ODIs proof for the same. He could go on to amass many more records and wickets and star in more Indian wins. He is one of the state’s biggest contributions to Indian cricket and like him Varun Chakravarthy could be a future star if he maintains his focus and turns his attention to the fitness factor.
Sunday’s thrashing at the hands of Pakistan will have shaken the Indian team, especially the skipper Virat Kohli, a particularly proud man. But, the sooner they put the loss behind them and look ahead the better. Also, there is a chance that Tamil Nadu’s ace off-spinner Ashwin has a role in the matches to come as also Varun Chakravarthy.