Ravichandran Ashwin’s Homecoming at Chepauk for Men’s ODI World Cup

Ravichandran Ashwin returns to his hometown stadium, Chepauk, as India faces Australia in the 2023 ODI World Cup opener. Learn about Ashwin’s special connection with Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium and his crucial role in the team.

The last time India played a home ODI World Cup match at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium was in 2011 against the West Indies. It’s remembered for Yuvraj Singh’s brilliant performance, scoring 113 runs and taking 2 wickets in India’s 80-run victory.

In that game, a young Ravichandran Ashwin, hailing from West Mambalam in Chennai, took 2 wickets for 41 runs in his ten overs at Chepauk. Now, 12 years later, Ashwin is set for a grand homecoming as India faces Australia in their 2023 World Cup opening match. Chennai is once again hosting a global tournament featuring the hosts.

Chennai and Ashwin share a deep connection. He rose through the ranks in his quest to make it to the Indian team, playing at Chepauk and various cricket grounds in the city, be it international, IPL, domestic, or TNCA league games. Ashwin eventually became one of the game’s greats, earning accolades in international and IPL matches, including a Player of the Match performance in the 2021 Test against England, where he scored a century and took eight wickets.

In the current Indian team, Ashwin is the go-to person for knowledge about the MA Chidambaram Stadium – from understanding wind direction and speed to assessing the pitch’s turn, grip, bounce, and boundary sizes. His wealth of information is expected to help India start the tournament with a win.

According to spin-bowling legend VV Kumar, “India has a revolutionary spinner in Ravichandran Ashwin. He knows how to bowl against Australia, especially in the power-play. With four fielders outside, he will use his guile to contain Australian batters.”

Captain Rohit Sharma has hinted at fielding three spinners in the game, making Ashwin likely to play in his home match. Kumar believes Ashwin can be a valuable asset for India at Chepauk, especially considering both teams’ doubts about their middle-order.

Six years ago, Ashwin was out of India’s ODI squad, but he made a comeback in January 2022. He impressed with his performance against Australia, including a spell of 3-41 in Indore, where he showcased his varied skills.

As Kumar points out, Ashwin’s experience and ability to adapt make him a formidable opponent. He believes David Warner, who has struggled against Ashwin in the past, could face difficulties again in the match.

When Ashwin was included in India’s ODI World Cup squad, his IPL franchise, Rajasthan Royals, celebrated his return with a nod to a popular movie scene. This time, as Ashwin steps onto the field for India’s World Cup opener, expect a roaring crowd at Chepauk, eager to witness his incredible skills on his grand homecoming.

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