India dropped R Ashwin for the fourth consecutive Test match against England in the current series. The ace off-spinner, who is one of three Indian spinners to take more than 400 Test wickets, was seen warming up at the Oval before the start of the Test but was ruled out.
The surprising thing about this decision is that England has four left-handed batsmen In their line-up – which includes three who are known for their batting. Ashwin has an impeccable record against left-handed batsmen. Of the 413 Test wickets he has taken, 211 are left-handed.
“They are not playing an extra batsman. They are playing five bowlers and still R Ashwin is not playing. It is amazing,” Former India fast bowler Ajit Agarkar said on Thursday.
Toss and team news from Ovala
follow the match https://t.co/OOZebP60Bk
Here is India’s playing XI pic.twitter.com/zKHU231O69
—BCCI (@BCCI) 2 September 2021
Meanwhile, the cricket fraternity reacted to Ashwin’s omission as they too were taken aback by the team management’s decision.
Check out the responses here:
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) 2 September 2021
I wonder if he is bowling white ball in the nets https://t.co/8DlSfVEISP
— harsha bhogle (@bhogleharsha) 2 September 2021
Test match between India and England exciting first season of cricket @foxcricket. Can’t help but think that India made the selection wrong there. Definitely Ashwin should play with 5 left wingers for England instead of Sharma.
— Mark Waugh (@juniorwaugh349) August 25, 2021
I can’t believe he dropped Ashwin again on England’s most spin friendly ground. This team is incredible. You pick your five best bowlers, @ashwinravi99 Must be first or second name. leaving him and @MdShami11 In the Oval is like a death-wish – as if you want to give up!
— Shashi Tharoor (@shashi tharoor) 2 September 2021
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) 2 September 2021
Surprised to not see Ashwin as part of Test match #offiessticktogether
— lisa sthalekar (@sthalekar93) 2 September 2021
Interestingly, the Oval pitch is generally more spin-friendly than any other in England. Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun on Tuesday indicated that the team can play both the spinners only if the pitch helps the spin bowlers.
However, it seems that the green on the surface discouraged the team management from playing two spinners and only one in Ravindra Jadeja.
Jadeja was promoted to No. 5 in the batting order ahead of Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant.
“It depends on the conditions. It depends on many other things, the wicket, the conditions and all these things. There is no doubt that Ashwin is one of the best bowlers we have. But it is unfortunate that he hasn’t played so far. But if the opportunity comes and we think he is going to fit into the scheme of things, they will definitely bowl together.” Arun said on Tuesday.
“on history [The] The Oval says it will take spin but you also know how the Englishman is mindful of Ashwin’s abilities and what he can do if the track helps a bit. I think the most realistic option would be to look at the track tomorrow morning. Because anything can happen from now till tomorrow. We will look at the track from now till tomorrow morning and decide.” Arun added.
It is clear that there was not much for the spinners in the pitch.