Finding himself on the sidelines of India’s limited-overs setup, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has made it clear that he is not considering IPL as a platform for a comeback into the national side. Ashwin, who was named the captain of IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab last month, hasn’t featured in a limited-overs game for India since July 2017.
The off-spinner was in Delhi on Tuesday (March 13) for KXIP's jersey launch wherein he was asked whether he sees the franchise-based tournament as a platform for a comeback in the India limited overs team. Ashwin’s reply was a curt "no."
During the IPL 2018, Ashwin will have to manage veteran players like Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch and David Miller. It will certainly be a different kind of challenge for him given that the off-spinner hasn’t led a high-profile team in the past. Nonetheless, the Tami Nadu offie is looking forward to learn from Sehwag and Yuvraj over the next two months.
"For me, it is all about incorporating whatever I have learnt over the years. I have played under lot of captains including Viru paaji. My focus is on being strategically ahead of other captains," Ashwin quoted by PTI as saying.
"Both Yuvi and Viru paaji have been my captains at different stages of my career. I played under Yuvi paaji in my first Challenger Trophy and he has played a big role in whoever I am today. Learning from experiences and taking advice is something I am never be averse to," he added.
Ashwin, who has represented Chennai Super Kings (2009-2015) and Rising Pune Supergiant in the past, was roped in by the Punjab based franchise for INR 7.6 crores during the IPL auction in January. Although KXIP’s squad looks pretty formidable on paper, they don’t have a specialist wicket-keeper after Wriddhiman Saha's exit.
"Lots of teams have weaknesses and every team will try and overcome that. Most people see this (lack of specialist wicket-keeper) as a weakness for KXIP. On an average, in T20 games, every keeper gathers only six balls. So if our keeper can take those six balls, we will be fine," Ashwin concluded.
The 11th edition of IPL will kick off from April 7, with returning franchise Chennai Super Kings taking on the defending champions Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium. Kings XI Punjab will play their first game against Delhi Daredevils on April 8.