R Ashwin, the India off-spinner, cautioned bowlers to carefully monitor their workload in the lead-up to the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019.
India's players, along with a bunch of other international cricketers, are set to go through a hard grind, starting with the Indian Premier League, which begins on 23 March and is set to conclude just under a fortnight before the World Cup. The schedule has made workload management a highly-discussed topic for the players taking the flight for the marquee event in England and Wales.
"(Workload management) definitely stays at the back of the head because it is being spoken about a lot more right now," Ashwin was quoted as saying by PTI. "I am sure the players are responsible enough, and more fitness-aware and able to handle it than they ever were.
"None of the guys in the change room are panicking, the support staff is not feeling down after this defeat" – Virat Kohli downplays India's ODI series defeat to Australia ahead of #CWC19. #INDvAUS— ICC (@ICC) March 14, 2019
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"I don’t think going into the tournament people will be thinking about it, but as the tournament pans out, and the way it goes for each and every franchise and for each and every player, they will take decisions wisely."
Ashwin was particular that bowlers be careful about looking after their bodies to ensure that their World Cup plans are not sabotaged by injury.
"It is a dream for every cricketer to represent his country at the World Cup, it is a big stage. Obviously, bowlers have more chances of succumbing to injuries because of the workload they go through. It is physically harder on the body than the batters," he said.
I would always look back at my career and I would like to believe it’s not due to my efforts that I am sitting out
"Probably from that point of view, if you look at a [Jasprit] Bumrah or a Bhuvneshwar [Kumar] - Bumrah has been fine, but Bhuvneshwar has had a few [fitness] concerns over the last year or so. I think from that point of view, the bowlers need to be taken good care of."
As for Ashwin, who is a regular and prominent member of India's Test squad, it's been close to two years since he played a one-day international. Ashwin felt that it is the 'demand' for wrist-spin that is causing him to sit out rather than a drop in his own form.
"A lot of people might laugh at my suggestion, but for me, Cheteshwar Pujara should be India’s No. 4 in ODIs."— ICC (@ICC) March 16, 2019
Sourav Ganguly has a radical suggestion ahead of #CWC19.
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While it is true that the wrist-spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have excelled in white-ball cricket, Ashwin's ODI and T20 international numbers are reasonably good too. He has 150 wickets from 111 ODIs at 32.91, and 52 scalps from 46 T20Is at 22.94. His economy rate of 4.91 and 6.97 in the two formats respectively are further testament to his skill in white-ball cricket.
"I am no slouch. In the white-ball format, my records are not bad, like it is perceived to be. It is out of the perception that wrist-spinners are required in modern one-day cricket that I am sitting out," he said.
"The last ODI I played, I got 3 for 28. I would always look back at my career and I would like to believe it’s not due to my efforts that I am sitting out, [but] it is due to the supply and demand that the team requires."
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