‘this is madness.’ ‘I just can’t believe it.’ ‘Very strange decision.’ What is happening with India and Ravichandran Ashwin?
These comments are from former cricketers of the world. There is a good reason for his reaction as well.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who is second in the Test rankings and India’s fourth most successful bowler till date, was not included in the last 11 players again in the fourth Test against England.
34-year-old Ashwin has so far taken 413 wickets in Test cricket. Only 14 players have taken more Test wickets than him in history. Despite this, he did not get a chance to play in even one of the four Test matches of the England tour.
He is the same man who had made a significant contribution to England’s 3-1 win in his India, barely six months ago. During that time he took 32 wickets in the series at an average of 14.71.
Reactions of former cricketers
In the BBC Test Match Special, former England captain Michael Vaughan wrote on social media site Twitter that “I am shocked” by the decision not to feed Ashwin.
“This is the biggest layoff in the history of England in four Test matches. For a player who has taken 413 wickets in Test matches and has also scored 5 centuries. This is madness.”
Regarding this, former England spinner Phil Tufnell said, “I can’t believe it. How can you make the world number two bowler sit in four Test matches with half pants and a cup of tea?”
“He can join any Test team under any circumstances.”
Former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta said, “The Oval helps the spinners. Ravichandran Ashwin should have played in it somehow.”
Former England batsman Mark Ramprakash said, “Ashwin has the necessary X-factor.”
In this regard, former England batsman Ebony Renford-Brent called the decision not to select him as a ‘strange’ decision.
Even former players of Australia gave their opinion on this issue. In response to Michael Vaughan’s tweet on Twitter, Mark Waugh wrote, “You would be surprised if an Indian think tank has any clue about this.”
Why did India leave Ashwin out?
Is it because India have too many bowlers and Ashwin can’t bat?
But have to think again about this. Ashwin has five centuries in Tests to his name. Out of this, he had scored a century against England earlier this year. In fact, only two England players, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, have scored more runs than Ashwin.
Although it is true that Ashwin is more effective in conditions in India than in England. He took 4 for 45 in the final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand in Southampton in June this year. His average of 28.08 outside Asia since 2016 is the best among all spinners in the world.
Ashwin took 6/27 for Surrey in the county match against Somerset played at The Oval last month. In such a situation, his being out of the team is surprising.
A few years ago, many spin bowlers performed brilliantly on this ground. Whether it is Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan’s nine for 65 runs in 1998 or Phil Tufnell’s excellent performance in 1997, it is England’s victory by dismissing Australia for 104 runs.
Recent history also shows that slow throwers still take advantage of this pitch.
TMS data specialist Andy Zalzmann said, “In the five Test matches played at the Oval since 2015, fast bowlers took 123 wickets at an average of 31.07. Their strike rate was one wicket per 60 balls. Took 50 wickets here at an average of 29.01 and a strike rate of 51.”
So is there any other reason?
Michael Vaughan said, “When a team of this quality, experience and intelligence is not included in the team for four matches of a five-match series, you can imagine that there might be a problem in the relationship.”
“It may also be that the captain and Ravichandran Ashwin are not making eye contact with each other. The rest is just an excuse.”
During the toss, Indian captain Virat Kohli said that having four left-handed batsmen in the England team is very good for our left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
Mark Ramprakash said, “India won at Lord’s with four fast bowlers. They are trying to adapt to the conditions and they have four better fast bowlers.”
This means that the fifth bowler will be either Jadeja and Ashwin. When Jadeja was promoted to number five for batting when India faltered, it shows whose batting Virat Kohli likes more.
Ramprakash said, “Ashwin has a clear edge over many of the England batsmen because of the dismissals in India.”
India has been in England since June. If Ashwin didn’t play a single Test match against England, you can imagine that Joe Root and company would be happy about it.
Regarding this, Tom Moody wrote in a tweet, “Surprised not to see R Ashwin in India’s last 11. I believe there is ample scope to play three fast bowlers and two spinners in the team.
England supporters also surprised
In their reaction to the hashtag #bbccricket, many supporters of England have expressed surprise at Ashwin’s exclusion.
Phil in Chester wrote about this, “Can Portugal ever oust Cristiano Ronaldo? Then why does India drop Ashwin?
While a fan named Keer wrote, “Don’t know why this happened to Ashwin. Did the India selectors not see him play for Surrey this season? His performance was excellent. But being an England supporter, I am glad that he is sitting outside.
Ian even demanded from the Indian team to lend Ashwin on loan. He wrote, “Do we need R.K. for India Ashes series? Can I lend to Ashwin? Why don’t they use them after all?