Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun said on Friday that spin duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are still very much in the reckoning for a spot in the team at the 2019 World Cup in England.
Arun was speaking to reporters ahead of the 4th ODI between India and South Africa in Johannesburg, and said that the decision to pick wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal for the ongoing tour was purely down to the fact that wrist spinners stood a better chance of performing than fingers spinners in South African conditions.
Ashwin and Jadeja are ranked at the top of the ICC Test bowling charts, but were excluded from the ODI team to take a stock of the talent pool available when it came to Indian spinners according to Arun. He said, “We have a pool of bowlers. As you would understand the volume of cricket that we are playing, we need to keep rotating our bowlers so they are nice and fresh in every format. These two bowlers showed a lot of promise. And we said in overseas conditions wrist spinners would do better than what a finger spinner would. And rightly so, they have come to the party here.”
With the World Cup about one and a half years away, Arun said that Ashwin and Jadeja could still make a comeback to the Indian team, with no final decision having been taken yet on who will be India’s spinners in 2019. “As I said, we wanted to look at the talent and then decide who we would want for the ultimate goal of the World Cup. So, it’s not that Ashwin and Jadeja are out of the race, they could still come back into the team,” he said.
Arun also spoke about Jasprit Bumrah’s performances in the ongoing tour of the South Africa, particularly in the Test matches. He revealed that the decision to hand Bumrah his Test debut in South Africa was taken before the previous series against Sri Lanka, and the fast bowler was excluded from that series so that he could work on his fitness at the NCA to prepare for the South African tour.
“We had made a conscious decision that we would play Bumrah (in South Africa) when we were in India. We deliberately kept him out of the Tests against Sri Lanka. He was at NCA working on fitness and strength. We knew the workload in SA would be a lot so we prepared and he turned out to be the pick of the bowlers. Wherever he has been given chances he has done exceptionally well,” said Arun. “In limited overs, he did well enough for us to understand that he can be a handful here (SA). So decided to prepare him to do well here.”
Arun concluded by saying, “We want to rotate players to keep them nice and fresh. After this series we will assess their workload and take a call.”