World Cup 2011 March 10, 2011

Dhoni's spin on spinners is a googly

A case of Piyush Chawla's emotional career history keeping R Ashwin out of the XI
61

The R Ashwin question is about to be answered. Soon. Maybe even on the weekend, definitely by next weekend; the captain says so. On the night that India beat Netherlands (with what may have looked like a huff and a puff but was otherwise interpreted as a thorough workout for various arms of his team), MS Dhoni said R Ashwin was definitely going to get a game in the World Cup.

"We are still supposed to give Ashwin a chance, he deserves a place, so he will feature in one of the teams [that will play in the group stages]." That should ideally be either against South Africa on Saturday or, maybe in keeping with the team's current philosophy, against West Indies in the last group game in front of Aswhin's home crowd in Chennai.

Chennai would be quite fitting and in keeping with India's secret nickname at this World Cup - not merely the favourites but the favourites who are, to borrow George Bush Sr's words, the "Kinder, Gentler" team. The debate over Ashwin and legspinner Piuysh Chawla has nagged Dhoni at every World Cup press conference. (By the time he is done, his aggregate would at the very least be thirteen.) A dip in form in group games against England and Ireland, Dhoni said, had actually made Chawla's case stronger going into the match versus Netherlands.

Ashwin didn't stand a chance of getting a look-in at the Kotla because, "basically you have to see which was the player that needed this game most, rather than the team needing the player. I felt it was Piyush, who needed this game much more than Ashwin."

The reasons for that line of thinking were not centred around the merits of Chawla's googly over Ashwin's carrom ball. Or even, as Sanjay Manjrekar said in his audio chat with ESPNcricinfo, the advantage of the leggie's relatively shorter stature on a wicket keeping low over Ashwin's high-arm action. It was all about the stuff between the ears and Dhoni was not bringing IQs into the equation either.

He said he had been pleased with Chawla's performance against Netherlands - he had bowled with a "lot more freedom" - and reminded the world of Chawla's emotional career history. We should remember, Dhoni said, that Chawla had made his debut "quite early... he was still a teenager. He comes back in the side in a big tournament like this and people all over try to criticise him from left to right, so you can imagine his state of mind. So I think it was a very crucial game for him."

Dhoni explained that Ashwin, two years older, was not quite so fragile. "I know he is mentally very tough and up for a challenge or competition. It is good to have someone in the reserves who has mental stability." Ashwin's composure is clearly being seen as an investment that would be cashed in on during the knock-out stages while, in the early half of the World Cup, India wants to spread the equilibrium around.

"You want your bowlers to be in a very good mental state in the second half of the tournament, where you play against the best teams and you will be participating in the knock-out stages - that was one of the main reasons why we picked Piyush ahead of Ashwin." By doing so, Dhoni said the Indians were set for an ideal scenario knowing that the bowling now could be changed on situational demand. "It will be good to have all the bowlers at their best to select a XI," Dhoni said. Ashwin's best for the moment is locked up in the scorebook, his last ODI three months ago, his last World Cup bowling in a warm-up match more than three weeks behind him.

India's 'gently, gently' approach in the gestation period of the World Cup is being talked up as the tournament favourites stretching themselves only as far as they really need to go and, and in doing so, lulling every rival into complacency. Its success over the next few weeks is dependent on one of two conditions: whether Ashwin turns out to be the world's first nerveless cricketer. Or whether the team doesn't believe its own publicity.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rahulkarthikeyan on March 12, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    i gotta big doubt rite now. Is chawla a better wicket taker than Ashwin? lol

  • on March 12, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    @ mustang77 Totally Agree. Dhoni's the best captain in the last 15 years of Indian cricket. I'm in full support of Dhoni's last move.. .

  • cooljack_143 on March 12, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    Dhoni is a normal candidate.Dont hype his captaincy.He is fortunate to have youngsters in his team in good form. Else he is a sluggish and defensive captain.Not an attacker like Sourav. He easily goes into defensive mode.Smith is retiring from captaincy and hopefully even this guy should.Enough is enough.Lets give chance to youngsters may be Kohli..

  • on March 11, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    india need 450+ in all up coming games if they are going to win the WC with current bowlers they have...........

  • mustufa on March 11, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    All said and done, if he is saving him for the big QF and SF, and india manages to lose the QF, then Ashwin would have played one game in the WC, and lost it. he has to get one game in the group games at least

  • Maxgilli on March 11, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    If Piyush is low in confidence, then why in the first place U select him for the WC...Is this a charity tournament...I think MS is stretching beyond his limits to justify his selection error..With Piyush's case, it is not about confidence, it is more about ability...He has never had the class of an international bowler. I accept everybody goes through a bad patch, but that is compensated by their match winning performances during their purple patches..but Piyush has always been a substandard bowler whom only the Captain thinks has the potential to be a match winner. I wonder what will MS say if India plays Piyush in the knock out stages and loses the match because of Piyush??

  • chapathishot on March 11, 2011, 17:53 GMT

    Some one who witnessed the net session in banglore told that Ashwin was troubling all our batsmen in the nets.So I also feel that there is more to it than what every one thinks

  • on March 11, 2011, 17:46 GMT

    if Chawala is needed to be groomed for knock outs, I wonder whats the fault of Sri Santh?? First he was not given an entry in the teem now almost no matches after the entrance?? Personal Bias against him or what??

  • cricketfullness on March 11, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    Dhoni Should have played Ashvin for the England game. If he had played, then England would have never tied the game. Look what he did for Chennai, he almost out played Mr.Murali himself(the best bowler in all the format for the past 15 years or so). He is the reason Chennai didn't go for Murali very strong in the auction, otherwise Murali was a real local favorites. I think he is better than Harbhajan also. For giving Chawla a chance, you should worry about the team not a player. I would say looking back at the games so far, take Munaf out and Play Sreesanth and Chawla out Ashwin in and Pathan out Raina in. Munaf is not going to make any impact with his pace, his fast bowling is fast as Afridis spin and with no turn. Sreesanth will get hit but he will bowl some untouchables and take wickets also(remember Kallis).

  • immortalsidu on March 11, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    if he wants to give chawla more games why does it have to be in a tournament like the world cup? yes u have made it to the qf..yes u r at the top of the table..bt when u knw the bowler is not doin well keep him for the future tournaments..oh come on we all knw u do influence the selection :p ....if u want keep ashwin a surprise then play 3 seamers...good lord i dint mean sreesanth :p ..nehra munaf and zaheer ...nywaz..u knw the best coz u r the best..love u and the entire team...good luck

  • Rahulkarthikeyan on March 12, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    i gotta big doubt rite now. Is chawla a better wicket taker than Ashwin? lol

  • on March 12, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    @ mustang77 Totally Agree. Dhoni's the best captain in the last 15 years of Indian cricket. I'm in full support of Dhoni's last move.. .

  • cooljack_143 on March 12, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    Dhoni is a normal candidate.Dont hype his captaincy.He is fortunate to have youngsters in his team in good form. Else he is a sluggish and defensive captain.Not an attacker like Sourav. He easily goes into defensive mode.Smith is retiring from captaincy and hopefully even this guy should.Enough is enough.Lets give chance to youngsters may be Kohli..

  • on March 11, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    india need 450+ in all up coming games if they are going to win the WC with current bowlers they have...........

  • mustufa on March 11, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    All said and done, if he is saving him for the big QF and SF, and india manages to lose the QF, then Ashwin would have played one game in the WC, and lost it. he has to get one game in the group games at least

  • Maxgilli on March 11, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    If Piyush is low in confidence, then why in the first place U select him for the WC...Is this a charity tournament...I think MS is stretching beyond his limits to justify his selection error..With Piyush's case, it is not about confidence, it is more about ability...He has never had the class of an international bowler. I accept everybody goes through a bad patch, but that is compensated by their match winning performances during their purple patches..but Piyush has always been a substandard bowler whom only the Captain thinks has the potential to be a match winner. I wonder what will MS say if India plays Piyush in the knock out stages and loses the match because of Piyush??

  • chapathishot on March 11, 2011, 17:53 GMT

    Some one who witnessed the net session in banglore told that Ashwin was troubling all our batsmen in the nets.So I also feel that there is more to it than what every one thinks

  • on March 11, 2011, 17:46 GMT

    if Chawala is needed to be groomed for knock outs, I wonder whats the fault of Sri Santh?? First he was not given an entry in the teem now almost no matches after the entrance?? Personal Bias against him or what??

  • cricketfullness on March 11, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    Dhoni Should have played Ashvin for the England game. If he had played, then England would have never tied the game. Look what he did for Chennai, he almost out played Mr.Murali himself(the best bowler in all the format for the past 15 years or so). He is the reason Chennai didn't go for Murali very strong in the auction, otherwise Murali was a real local favorites. I think he is better than Harbhajan also. For giving Chawla a chance, you should worry about the team not a player. I would say looking back at the games so far, take Munaf out and Play Sreesanth and Chawla out Ashwin in and Pathan out Raina in. Munaf is not going to make any impact with his pace, his fast bowling is fast as Afridis spin and with no turn. Sreesanth will get hit but he will bowl some untouchables and take wickets also(remember Kallis).

  • immortalsidu on March 11, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    if he wants to give chawla more games why does it have to be in a tournament like the world cup? yes u have made it to the qf..yes u r at the top of the table..bt when u knw the bowler is not doin well keep him for the future tournaments..oh come on we all knw u do influence the selection :p ....if u want keep ashwin a surprise then play 3 seamers...good lord i dint mean sreesanth :p ..nehra munaf and zaheer ...nywaz..u knw the best coz u r the best..love u and the entire team...good luck

  • Mishraff on March 11, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    It is very said to hear the captain say, my bowlers are not ready enough to play ..in the middle of the series..or tournament

  • on March 11, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    I think a few things have come out from India's performances so far. 1) the team management hasn't taken the hype around the team seriously (and that's a very good thing) and 2) so-called experts know nothing.

    All week, we've had twaddle from the likes of Sidhu, et al about how Dhoni's team selections have been puzzling. To me, it hasn't been. Some people questioned Munaf being rested but not Zaheer, but that was always going to happen. Zaheer is by far our best bowler, and why would Dhoni want to rest him before India qualify for the quarters? Especially with the bowling being so poor. Dhoni is spot on about Chawla. The guy has bucketloads ot talent, he just has to use his brain a bit more. For that, he needs to be mentally strong. The only way he's going to regain his confidence is by playing matches. If Ashwin has to play, I'd like to see him play in Harbhajan's place.

  • on March 11, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    ms knows ashwin is mentally stable nd he can do d job den i dont understand y he is going in wit piyush !!! if he feels tat piyush needs a game den dey shud have tried him within d 4yrs span before wc!! u give a person a WC match for free come on ms b serious billion ppl are behind u !! u cant act irresponsible

  • Secunderabadi on March 11, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    Is there someone named Suresh Raina in the sqad. Sreesanth got his chance and may never get another one in this WC. Ashwin seems all likely to get that call soon, hopefully.

  • on March 11, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    The first four matches for India was against relatively weaker teams England being exception though they play like minnows at times. And there had been no upsets caused from the minnows. Hence Dhoni is continuing with Chawla. Had there been a loss against one of these teams and there was a pressure to win, then surely he would have brought in Ashwin to add strength. Now that India has qualified for QF, there is less pressure but I think Aswin will play in either of the group matches to get his feet wet before the important games.

  • Hpd.ganesh on March 11, 2011, 12:42 GMT

    Dhoni wants to use Ashwin as a secret weapon.We cant expect him in Group Stages, but definitely he ll be in the Quarter finals.

  • santosh.sampath on March 11, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    Why not the same love for Sreesanth? Why publicly criticize upon every opportunity? Not that I am fan of Sreesanth but captain should treat all his team members equally.

  • IPL_is_Thrash on March 11, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Except Zaheer Khan, is there any criteria or yardstick which proves that other Indian bowlers could be called as bowlers? India has miserably failed to groom bowlers. And that IPL is really killing Cricket and Cricketers.

  • blondblackberry on March 11, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    chawla is a total waste, he is not warne.may b keeping ashwin for future game is a strategy.whatever, it should be the last game for chawla in world cup.

  • rohitcricketlover on March 11, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    Mr. Dhoni, why are you not giving this chances to Sreesanth, A genuine Fast bowler, who proved time and again. You will take him out based on one match performance and give Chawla 3 matches to for practice !!!.

  • jimbond on March 11, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Dhoni is the captain, will be held responsible for his results- the least that we can do is to allow him to take his own decisions. Yes, a legspinner may require a longer stint, a longer rope- and could be useful if he is in form against teams that struggle against spin (and leg spin)- such as Australia, New Zealand and even SL. Harbajan too is not bowling well and needs to improve; Ashwin may have a surprise element- obviously Dhoni is not expected to say THIS in interviews-it is for the sensible to infer. Just because Chawla is performing badly, EXPERTS of all kind have jumped to the conclusion that Ashwin is a Prasanna, or Murali (or at least a Mendis- with his carrom ball) in disguise. His performance in first class- a bowling average of 28, with a strike rate of 63, doesnt exactly show a wicket taking machine. Compared to him Chawla has roughly the same average but a better strike rate of about 56. Neither are great, but it doesnt explain the recent comments by EXPERTS.

  • eomer17 on March 11, 2011, 8:15 GMT

    dhoni's decision to play chawla is perplexing.Ashwin is being talked about like a magic spinner who can win it anytime he is called for !surely chawla can't be replaced, after he has performed well in the last match (according to dhoni that is). TamilIndian big player?who?Ashwin???God wat has IPL done to this country?SOS!

  • SumanKochi on March 11, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    Surely a Bad Ploy to play 3 spinners. It will back fire and Dhoni will bite dust. If Dhoni is not using Sreesanth and Nehra Instead of Chawla he is nowhere near the CUP. Chawla like inexperienced bowler can go for 25 runs on a crucial time even if his figures are 9-0-30-2. Dhoni, u drop the cup and so does your captaincy. Chawla is a bad selection and Sreekanth also will have to answer.

  • GlobalCricketLover on March 11, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    did dhoni realize about piyush's mental fragility only now? if the point is to give him more confidence why wasn't he part of the squad in the last one year or so? Late realization. ah?

  • Abiscon on March 11, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    Surely Dhoni will use Aswin in upcoming matches as he wants him to use as a surprise package in a tough games adhead

  • analyseabhishek on March 11, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    Pragyan Ojha was not selected bevause Yuvraj could bowl decent left armers (proved right) A leg spin-googly bowler can confound players and make other spinners look good (yet to be proved- that's why Dhoni is persisting with Chawla) It pays to have multiple arrows in your quiver. Playing two off spinners is a defensive move and can lead to a monotony in attack (a fact recently admitted by people like Bedi and Prasanna when they were asked about Chawla and Ashwin) And if you must try a change during later stages, an off spinner will hit the ground much quicker than a leg spinner who practices a more difficult art.

  • AbAdvani on March 11, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    I don't understand Dhoni's philosophy -if he feels he needs to back his bowlers aka chawla, why is he not backing SreeSanth then ? SreeSanth may be expensive but he is a wicket taking bowler and you need somebody at the start to take out the openers. What is all this clamor about R.Ashwin ? Apart from T20, his performance in 50 overs ODI has been pretty ordinary both in the Zimbabwe triangular as well as against NewZealand (in India on indian pitches) ? Does it reveal the bankruptcy of good bowling options for team India ? Also -let us not forget Ashwin's dropped catch against SA in the 5th ODI that cost us the series.

  • nArkAli on March 11, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    I don't buy Dhoni's argument. If Pyush Chawla is mentally that weak, he should not have been selected in the first place. Being mentally strong is far more important than being skillful, especially in World cup situatiion. Look at the Irish.

  • AtticusFinch on March 11, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    @mustang77: Dhoni the best captain India ever had? Probably the luckiest, but definitely not the best . . . His handling of players, esp from the South, is pathetic (However much Sreesanth deserves it, scathing comments, repeatedly, from his Captain is not a way to build team spirit). And the comment that "basically you have to see which was the player that needed this game most, rather than the team needing the player" is utter hogwash . .. then why is Sreesanth not playing? His field settings are atrocious, his balling changes beggars belief . . . but he continues winning with a Midas wand! The best captain India ever had - Saurav Ganguly, followed by Tiger Pataudi and Ajit Wadekar . . .

  • on March 11, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    The main problem plaguing India is that their two "frontline" spinners bhajji and piyush have together taken less than 10 wickets in all the world cup games. Chawla just has 2 wickets in 3 games that too against Netherlands. If India need to win matches they need to take wickets. Dhoni's argument that Bhajji is being played defensively is false. It would be like Ponting saying McGrath or Warne cant pick wickets because people play them defensively. Dhoni is a very respected and admired captain, but he must watch his words and himself this WC, not all gambles pay off, especially if he wants to go everytime against common sense

  • Sinoj13 on March 11, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    Dhoni just tries to reason his actions, thats it. Chawla is a teanager, Aswin is mentally stronger so he don't need match practice, Nehra withdrawn after first spell and then given chance when the opposition is not in good shape (while Sreeshanth received a different treatment since Dhoni does not like him). There are so many ways to support a player as well as oppose a player. So this reasons are obviously not cricketing.... Cricket is just like politics now..

  • on March 11, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    To my guess Raina, Ashwin, Sreesanth will play against WI and from there on it will be the settled XL..... Captain Cool is playing safe as well as clever..... hope his strategy wins not the strategy done on papers or words :-) at the end of the day its him and his men who face the music :-) ........ Apr 3 is not so far for team India :-)

  • dilscoop on March 11, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    It is shocking to hear Dhoni state that the player needs the game rather than the team needing a player - is'nt it all about the team instead of a player. You are supposed to field the best eleven in the World cup at all times barring injuries. World cup is not about experimentation & give chance to a player to gain confidence on the job - no on the job training during World cup. Given the sorry state of affairs of indian bowling - Nehra, zaheer, bajji & ashwin are your best 4 bowlers & they should be playing from here on given the business end of the tournament starts against south africa - piyush was a controversial pick in the 15 & if dhoni wanted him he is giving him more chances to succeed to prove his point. As Ian chappel rightly said (after SA game) India should play Raina over Gambhir with kohli at 3 & Yuvi at 4. Given Raina's problem with the short pitched stuff gambir gets to play the SA game on the bouncy nagpur pitch. kohli & rainain the XI would improve Indian fielding.

  • critic12345 on March 11, 2011, 1:52 GMT

    The question to be asked is what is Harbhajan doing ? I dont think he has done anything of quality in last 2 years. He is not taking wickets like he used to do. Also India should look at option of going with 3 specialist spinners. Dhoni has used this strategy in IPL & Champions league to good effect with CSK. If 6 batsman cant score, what will a 7th batsman do. SouthAfrica are going with 3 spinners, why cant India do the same. Team should be - Sachin,Sehwag,Gambhir,Kohli,Yuvraj,Dhoni,Harbhajan,Chawla,Ashwin,Munaf,Zaheer.

  • frommoonman on March 11, 2011, 1:02 GMT

    Seems like Dhoni wants to play Zaheer and 3 spinners (Chawla, Ashwin & Bhajji) + Yusuf & Yuvi in the QF onwards - Not a bad ploy :)

  • DevilsCricket on March 10, 2011, 21:54 GMT

    All his reasoning for playing Chawla still doesn't make any sense. MSD is losing it. If he is so obsessed with playing a leg spinner all the time, then why not drop Harbhajan atleast once so far, so Ashwin can get few games. Harbhajan seems to have lost the wicket taking ability.

  • mustang77 on March 10, 2011, 20:24 GMT

    Dhoni's doing exactly the right thing ... if people don't understand it, doesn't mean they are right .. And you can question every move in hindsight .. sometimes gambles pay off, sometimes don't .... he has been the best captain India has ever had .. period .... success ratio ... wins in close games .. team spirit (junior and seniors both like and respect him) ... close to #1 ranking in all forms of the game ...

  • amit_mangal30 on March 10, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    With dhoni completely. I had a chat with my friend that he's upto something here by nt playing ashwin and look, he has justified it completely. Sends out a sombre yet very strong message to the opponents, that beware...we won't be playing the best 11, but dropping 4 becoz we have to play only 11. AWESOME!!!

  • wildnaphtha on March 10, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    Dhoni, stop politics. By playing Chawla against weaker teams and Ashwin against stronger team like SA betrays a diabolical game. Take Ashwin immediately!

  • on March 10, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    Good article, love the sarcasm...

  • SRAM20 on March 10, 2011, 18:59 GMT

    Nonsense reply from Dhoni! Hope he brings in Ashwin before its too late. What he is also doing is, he is building up pressure on Ashwin simultaneously. Now everyone are hoping that Ashwin comes in immediately and tweaks some magic, and Ashwin is not that kind of a bowler. So Dhoni is playing poor captaincy here.

  • TheHonestCritic on March 10, 2011, 18:44 GMT

    It's all mind games played by some of the captains in this world cup. SA & captain smith is playing mind game by declaring imran Tahir injured before India's game. He certainly doesn't want to expose imran tahir against India knowing very well that Indian batsmen will go after him & dent his morale. Dhoni's doing same slightly differently by playing chawla ; asking zaheer & harbhajan to just hold back & underperform till the quaterfinals start.He intends to use Nehra & Ashwin as surprise weapons in quaters & semis.Who knows he might even field sreesanth in game against SA?

  • on March 10, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    Quote: "Sanjay Manjrekar said...the advantage of the leggie's relatively shorter stature on a wicket keeping low over Ashwin's high-arm action."

    Sounds pretty intelligent. I'm sure Mr. Manjrekar will remember that the man who bagged a Tenner was a gentleman who stood at a paltry 6-feet plus.

    Mr. Manjrekar had rather avoid paralysis by over-analysis.

  • on March 10, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    seems like a bunch of bunkum from Dhoni, but whatever...so long as Ashwin gets a dekko. I think he'll do better than piyush (nothing against the chawla tho)

  • TamilIndian on March 10, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    Dhoni is different from most others. May be the thinking is to reserve your energy for big games - to avoid situations like England who have lost two main players due to injuries. Do all the saving for tight games - Hopefully that is the case!!

  • Horn.OK.Please on March 10, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    So basically, Dhoni has taken in Piyush Chawla into the Indian world cup squad to give him match practice to improve his confidence levels? Nobody would have criticized if Chawla was drafted in at least a series before the world cup..

  • Nampally on March 10, 2011, 17:13 GMT

    It is unfair to question Chawla's performance when India's "ace off spinner", Harbhajan has performed very poorly in ODI's for the past 18 months. Harbhajan has just 2 wickets in 4 matches in the 2011 World cup. He is not a great fielder either and did very little in batting when he got a chance.So Dhoni should be thinking of replacing Harbhajan with Ashwin - Not dropping Chawla.Harbhajan has been playing on his past reputation rather than on his current form. He is touted leader of the spin trio - Yuvraj, Chawla & himself, Just like Zaheer is the leader of the seamer.How does Harbhajan justify his place in the XI - this is the real question to be answered by Dhoni.Ganbhir & Kohli are there to consolidate a good opening stand not get out to rash strokes. These are important issues to be addressed before the SA match by skipper Dhoni. Thanks to Yuvraj's great sheet anchor innings in last 2 matches + his bowling, India managed to win Vs. the last 2 minnows. Others need to perform.

  • addiemanav on March 10, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    of what i hav heard dhoni say about ashwin's inclusion in the side,i hav a strong feeling,it may or may not be true,that dhoni wants to use ashwin for knockout stages as surprise package!dhoni did mention that ashwin is game ready,and cud straightaway come in big game..it suggests to me,that ashwin may hav developed a couple of surprise balls that he wud unleash in QF,SF,F!!if this is true then i am in agreement with dhoni,but if it isnt,then atleast we can hope it is,as of now!!in another fortnight,the issue will be settled!

  • blue-eyed on March 10, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    Dhoni sure has got himself into knots trying to justify Chawla's selection, only wish he'd been half as understanding with Sreesanth as well. I think he needs to give more credit to the IQ of the average Indian cricket fan than he currently does. Has anyone ever heard of a player needing a game rather than a team needing a player?! I mean who's he trying to feel. I think it has become an emotional issue for Dhoni himself, he's still fervently hoping that 'his' call on Chawla would pay off. For the sake of all good and sweet things in the world here's hoping he snaps out of the delusion soon

  • indianzen on March 10, 2011, 17:07 GMT

    Ashwin is the best spinner right now for india, who can control the batsmen as well as take wickets.... no wonder sounth indians are mentally strong...

  • on March 10, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    Chawla should been using this opportunity to perform better against better teams but Just 2 wickets against modest batting order of Holland... This is disgusting.Ashwin should get chance in match vs SA if our team goes with 2 spin & 2 seam. if they go with 3 seamers then Ashwin should definitely get chance Vs WI since his home ground he knows better than anyone in team with Spin friendly track he can make merry and give Bhajji a good chance to take wickets and support at one end

  • on March 10, 2011, 16:49 GMT

    I think people are overreacting. It doesn't matter who you really play in the league matches, which is almost 'dead rubber'; Once Ashwin comes into the XI (against WI/SA or may be the QF/SF/F) Chawla will never get to bowl again in this Series.

  • doors666 on March 10, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    I dont get it, why is everyone after chawla's head. if a spinner has to go to make place for ashwin, it should be bhajji. he hasnt done anything in this world cup so far.

  • nashbhash on March 10, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    I hope Dhoni is keeping ashwin as the surprise element.There is a cent percent possibility that a team like India would try to upset opponent team's rhythm by changing its combination and also making it uncertain for everyone to plan ahead..

  • on March 10, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    Ashwin might not be as wicket taking as Piyush but he is definitely better on economy rate.. Given the more than strong batting lineup it is highly likely that India is going to score 300 or more in every game, in that case Ashwin can restrict the opposition.. Piyush can be easily hit as seen from the game against England and even in IPL.

  • quotejester on March 10, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    More like Dhoni's spin on spinner is a wrong un!

  • on March 10, 2011, 15:11 GMT

    i think this ts dhonis plan

  • on March 10, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    If Piyush chawla selected for worldcup, he must be groomed well before worldcup; Certainly worlcup is not a place to groom your under-achieving or less confident players. Can't agree with Dhoni, infact he is more concentrating on defense play rather than proactive now a days.

  • on March 10, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    This is the first time in Dhoni's stint as captain, I have seen him take so much effotr in defending a player. Not the best time though.

  • Shrescs on March 10, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    I just think Dhoni chose wrong words to explain why he is not playing Ashwin. He is in a better position than any of us in choosing the playing eleven. So....

  • THEEXPERT on March 10, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    Well, who can argue with Dhoni's skewed logic..is the World Cup meant to give confidence to young struggling players or is it about putting your best forward? Not hard to answer that is it and going by the same logic why isn't Sreesant being given a long run..he probably needs all the games to gain his lost confidence. I think Dhoni can be stubborn at times he did the same with Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja and look where are these guys today. Nothing wrong in backing players but for once get behind the promising ones.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • THEEXPERT on March 10, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    Well, who can argue with Dhoni's skewed logic..is the World Cup meant to give confidence to young struggling players or is it about putting your best forward? Not hard to answer that is it and going by the same logic why isn't Sreesant being given a long run..he probably needs all the games to gain his lost confidence. I think Dhoni can be stubborn at times he did the same with Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja and look where are these guys today. Nothing wrong in backing players but for once get behind the promising ones.

  • Shrescs on March 10, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    I just think Dhoni chose wrong words to explain why he is not playing Ashwin. He is in a better position than any of us in choosing the playing eleven. So....

  • on March 10, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    This is the first time in Dhoni's stint as captain, I have seen him take so much effotr in defending a player. Not the best time though.

  • on March 10, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    If Piyush chawla selected for worldcup, he must be groomed well before worldcup; Certainly worlcup is not a place to groom your under-achieving or less confident players. Can't agree with Dhoni, infact he is more concentrating on defense play rather than proactive now a days.

  • on March 10, 2011, 15:11 GMT

    i think this ts dhonis plan

  • quotejester on March 10, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    More like Dhoni's spin on spinner is a wrong un!

  • on March 10, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    Ashwin might not be as wicket taking as Piyush but he is definitely better on economy rate.. Given the more than strong batting lineup it is highly likely that India is going to score 300 or more in every game, in that case Ashwin can restrict the opposition.. Piyush can be easily hit as seen from the game against England and even in IPL.

  • nashbhash on March 10, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    I hope Dhoni is keeping ashwin as the surprise element.There is a cent percent possibility that a team like India would try to upset opponent team's rhythm by changing its combination and also making it uncertain for everyone to plan ahead..

  • doors666 on March 10, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    I dont get it, why is everyone after chawla's head. if a spinner has to go to make place for ashwin, it should be bhajji. he hasnt done anything in this world cup so far.

  • on March 10, 2011, 16:49 GMT

    I think people are overreacting. It doesn't matter who you really play in the league matches, which is almost 'dead rubber'; Once Ashwin comes into the XI (against WI/SA or may be the QF/SF/F) Chawla will never get to bowl again in this Series.