Ravichandran Ashwin
India's Ravichandran Ashwin in action during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match against Afghanistan at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on November 3, 2021. Image Credit: ANI

Dubai: Comebacks are a rarity in white-ball cricket, especially in Indian cricket. Because the sheer amount of talent is mindboggling. That is why Ravichandran Ashwin’s return to international T20 cricket is laudable. The off-spinner claimed 2-14 in his four overs against Afghanistan in a crunch game for India in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Ashwin, who was part of the team that lost the 2016 World Cup semi-final to champions West Indies, last played for India in T20Is in July 2017. After that, it was the era of wrist-spinners in Indian teams, and even Ravindra Jadeja struggled to find a place despite his all-round skills.

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Once hailed as the best Indian bowler in the shortest format, Ashwin lost his spot in the shorter formats to fellow Tamil Nadu off-spinner Washington Sundar and was left out since 2017. Ironically, a finger injury to Sundar helped Ashwin regain his place in the Indian squad. Sundar had to miss the UAE-leg of the Indian Premier League and was subsequently not selected to the Indian T20 team.

The place in the Indian squad was just reward for Ashwin’s self-belief and hard work. On Twitter, the off-spinner posted a picture of a quote inscribed on a wall which read: “Every tunnel has light at the end of it, but only those in the tunnel who believe in the light will live to see it..”

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He added the following caption to it: “2017: I wrote this quote down a million times in my diary before putting this up on the wall! Quotes that we read and admire have more power when we internalise them and apply in life. Happiness and gratitude are the only 2 words that define me now. #t20worldcup2021.”

His success against the Afghans is doubly sweet since it was a must-win game for India.