Ravichandran Ashwin’s absence from the Rajasthan Royals’ Playing XI in their last league match of the 16th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) against the Punjab Kings has raised questions among fans and cricket enthusiasts. The Royals have made several changes to their lineup for the match at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, with captain Sanju Samson opting to field first after winning the toss.
Despite the changes, one name that stood out was the exclusion of ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin from the Playing XI. Samson acknowledged this during the toss, mentioning that Ashwin was not part of the lineup for the crucial match. The skipper emphasized the importance of winning the game and seeing how it impacts their chances in the tournament.
Ashwin, who has been the second-highest wicket-taker for the Royals this season, picking up 14 wickets at an average of 26.28, an economy rate of 7.51, and a strike rate of 21, is missing the match due to a back spasm. Alongside Ashwin, batters Joe Root and Dhruv Jural and pacer KM Asif are also not part of the starting XI for the Royals. Their places have been filled by Devdutt Paddikal, Riyan Parag, Navdeep Saini, and Trent Boult. It is expected that Dhruv Jural will participate as a substitute in the second innings.
On the other side, Punjab Kings’ captain Shikhar Dhawan, who had previously lost a match after choosing to field first at the same venue, remains unfazed by the invitation to bat first. It’s worth noting that the Kings have made no changes to their Playing XI. However, batter Prabhsimran Singh has been included in the lineup as they bat first in the match.
Dhawan expressed his confidence in the team’s ability to adapt to the conditions, stating that the presence or absence of dew shouldn’t significantly affect the game. He emphasized the team’s focus on enjoying the game and giving their best effort, highlighting the importance of taking wickets in the first six overs.
As the Punjab Kings take on the Rajasthan Royals in this crucial encounter, fans eagerly await the outcome and hope for an exciting match. The absence of Ravichandran Ashwin adds an intriguing element to the game, as both teams aim to secure a victory and boost their chances in the IPL 2023 season.