What’s the story?
Despite being one of India's most consistent performers across all formats, especially in Tests, Ravichandran Ashwin still hasn’t been made vice-captain. But the off-spinner admitted that he is not losing sleep over that and admitted that he leads “without a title”.
Speaking to The Hindu, Ravichandran Ashwin said: “To be honest, I am not even sure if I want to be a vice-captain. I do a lot of hard work. So to try and think at what is not coming my way is way too demanding on my mind. I have really crossed that stage, where I think I deserved this or being faced with decisions that is not in my hands. I lead without a title. I end up playing a crucial part in most matches which India wins. As of now, I am at peace with myself.”
After finishing as India’s leading wicket-taker across all formats over the last two years, there is little doubt about Ashwin's contribution to the Indian side. Despite the change in captaincy from MS Dhoni to Virat Kohli in ODIs and Ashwin’s incredible Test form, Ajinkya Rahane remains India’s vice-captain in Tests and it is still unclear who the vice-captain is in the other two formats.
Since taking over as India’s full-time captain, Virat Kohli has gone on to break all Indian captaincy records and much of that has been possible thanks to the efforts of the 30-year-old off-spinner who has been in sensational form.
India are currently unbeaten in 19 Tests, which is a national record and in those matches, Ashwin has picked up 120 wickets, by far the most of any bowler during that time. He has led the bowling attack and also contributed with the bat when India have been in trouble and it is surprising that despite his form, Rahane remains the Test vice-captain and the situation of India’s limited-overs vice-captain is still unclear.
Currently taking on India A in a warm-up match, Australia will then take on India in the first of the four-match Test series in Pune on February 23 and will be looking end India's 19-game unbeaten run in Tests. The next three matches will take place in Bengaluru, Ranchi, and Dharamsala.
After finishing as India's leading wicket-taker in 2015 and the leading wicket-taker in international cricket in 2016, Ravichandran Ashwin has certainly cemented his place as one of the first names on the Indian set-up and it is certainly surprising that he hasn’t been given the vice-captaincy. But not being given the extra responsibility when he has deserved it hasn’t diminished his performances on the field and India will be hoping that continues against Australia in the upcoming Test series.