CHENNAI: The good news for India captain Virat Kohli in his quest to retain the Champions Trophy, to be held in England from June 1 to 18, is that ace spinner R Ashwin had regained fitness, and is raring to go.
Ashwin spent three hours under the hot sun at the SRMC grounds here to select players from districts for his TNPL team Dindigul Dragons.
The Rising Pune Supergiant player missed the entire IPL-10 season due to a sports hernia.
Many believe Ashwin’s injury was mainly due to his workload as his national team’s premier bowler.
During India’s home season, stretching 13 five-day games, he bowled 738.2 overs, the most ever by a bowler in a Test season, and picked up a record 82 wickets.
But the injury is a thing of the past, and during his stint on-field on Wednesday, the offie did not suffer from any discomfiture, and in fact did not even take a break.
Ashwin likes to do things differently, which resulted in about 20 young aspirants having the fortune of being tested by the ace spinner himself. He asked the boys to bat in pairs, and bowled to them with good rhythm and flow.
When he got hit for a boundary by a youngster, the very next ball he changed his line to dismiss the same batsman, just to prove a point. Ashwin bowled in short spells, and also batted in between to test the bowlers.
Looking trim and fit, the 30-year-old politely declined to speak, as the Indian team had been announced.
Stand-in captain of Dindigul Dragons, Subramania Siva, did chat with Express.
“I don’t know the nature of his injury, but he bowled beautifully today. He looked fit and bowled with good rhythm. He tried lots of variations, and in fact bowled some leg spin too. Some youngsters were nervous when he bowled, but many others enjoyed facing him, and took it as an opportunity to impress,” said Siva.
What was Ashwin expecting from the youngsters?
“It was mainly seeing how they adapt to the wicket, and how they play a particular bowler. He also observed how bowlers bowl to a particular batsman (left hander/right hander). On the whole, it was mainly to see whether they have the mindset for T20s,” explained Siva, insisting that the aim of the trials was to unearth and promote good talent.
HR Srinivasan, owner of the Dindigul team, had praised Ashwin’s commitment and dedication as captain of the TNPL franchise. But there is uncertainty over the Chennai lad’s participation in the upcoming TNPL season.
“We don’t know (about his availability). Last year, he played a couple of games. This year too, depending upon his schedule, we hope he plays for us,” hoped Siva.