After all Chahal had taken 22 wickets in 2022 from 19 T20Is, and that is a fine report card even considering the fact that the leg-spinner has gone for over 8 runs an over.
Even that run-rate has a slightly inflated look around it because Chahal has played a good lot of his matches in batsmen-friendly India and in smaller grounds.
This is not to belittle Ashwin’s credentials as a T20I bowler as he continues to be exceptional against left-arm batters.
The veteran off-spinner has also added a bit of muscle to his batting too of late, and in any case Ashwin has been a solid batsman.
But where does that leave Chahal, who was not long was viewed as India’s primary weapon in the white ball formats and certainly one of the most successful bowlers in those formats.
India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey offered a hint to the choice pattern of India team management when it comes to picking up Ashwin or Chahal.
“We have to look at composition wise what balance does he (Ashwin) offer. He also gives you batting. We look at match up options and think on those lines,” said Mhambrey.
Mhambrey said since India will be playing the second games of the day in next matches, the pitches in those games can have some wear and tear although turn on offer will not be that considerable.
“When and where we have an opportunity to include an additional spinner, we will go with him (Chahal),” he added.
It is clear that the team management is also factoring in Ashwin’s presence as a batter in the lower middle order which at a pressure situation can add another dimension to India’s batting as it was on show against Pakistan.