Harbhajan reveals why Ashwin was dropped from playing XI
India’s veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was treated unfairly as he was dropped from the team playing XI for the opening Test against West Indies in Antigua. A player of his calibre deserved to be in the starting XI of the ICC World Test Championship but his snub took everyone by shock including many former cricketers, experts and Sunil Gavaskar.
Ashwin, who had claimed 60 wickets in 11 Tests smashed four centuries against the Windies in the red-ball cricket, was almost confirmed to partner Ravindra Jadeja in the first Test, but the Virat Kohli-led team management preferred an extra batsman in Hanuma Vihari over the carrom-ball spinner.
Meanwhile, Harbhajan Singh has the answer to why Ravichandran Ashwin was left out of the team.
Harbhajan Singh, who has bagged 417 wickets in 103 Tests reckons that Ashwin’s inconsistent shows outside India cost him his place in the playing XI, as the team management feels that he is no longer the team’s premier spinner.
“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,” Harbhajan Singh was quoted as saying by Telegraph.
Earlier tagged as India’s premier off-spinner, Ashwin lived up to his reputation for being a good wicket-taker for his team with 342 wickets and 2361 runs in 65 Test matches but the fact that he couldn’t put on a show to help India during South Africa, England, and Australia in the past year and struggled with his form and fitness gave the much-needed space for Ravindra Jadeja to make a rebound and cement his spot.
“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,” Harbhajan added.
Ravichandran Ashwin carries an excellent record against the Windies and was also named the Man of the Series when India toured the Caribbean in 2016. He claimed 17 wickets and made 350 runs to his name.