Ravichandran Ashwin has all the reasons in the world to feel left out after he was excluded from the playing eleven for India in the first test against West Indies. Cricket fans across the globe were left wondering why Virat Kohli dropped the Tamil Nadu cricketer. Former cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly called it out in public and expressed their discontent over Kohli’s decision to leave him out.
However, out of contention off-spinner Harbhajan Singh feels he may have the answer as to why the Indian team management did not include Ashwin. Justifying Kohli’s decision, Harbhajan said that Ashwin is no longer considered as the team’s premier spinner in Test cricket and pointed out the failure of the spinner in overseas condition.
“If you see, there have been instances when Ashwin failed miserably in overseas conditions. For example, in the fourth Test against England in Southampton in 2018, Moeen Ali finished with a match- haul of nine wickets whereas Ashwin had three wickets in the match,” India’s third highest wicket-taker was quoted as sayig by The Telegraph.
Harbhajan raised question on Ashwin’s fitness as well and cited that he failed to live upto the hope of the team. “If you see during the Australia tour (in 2018-19), he got injured after the first Test but the team management kept him in the squad, hoping against hope he would recover. He could not. These things weigh a lot when it comes to choosing the first XI. Don’t forget, the Antigua Test is the first we are playing since the Sydney Test in January,” the “Turbanator” added.
Ravichandran Ashwin has failed to find his usual self in India’s recent tours of South Africa, England and Australia inthe past one year. As rightly pointed by Harbhajan, he has struggled with both form and fitness and this paved the way for Ravindra Jadeja to make his return and earn the spot of the number one spinner. Ashwin’s struggle has also seen Kuldeep Yadav emerge as a potential candidate to become India’s next go-to spinner in Test.
However, Ashwin boasts of an impeccable record against West Indies and that should have also taken into account before dropping the 32-year-old bowler. In 11 Tests against the Carribean team, he has notched 60 wickets and scored four centuries. In India’s 2016 tour, he earned the Man of the Series title for his 17 wickets and 350 runs. With 342 wickets in 65 Test matches, Ashwin is the fourth highest wicket-taker for India in white-ball cricket.