Ravichandran Ashwin’s exclusion from India’s playing XI in the ongoing first Test against England came as a shock to many given the senior spinner’s exceptional form in the last couple of Test series. Ashwin was left out of the XI as India went in the series-opener with four pacers and Ravindra Jadeja as the lone spinner. Shardul Thakur was preferred over Ashwin owing to his batting abilities.
Ashwin has been one of India’s best bowlers in the longest format and has been delivering consistently for the Virat Kohli-led side. After a stupendous show in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21 in Australia, Ashwin continued his brilliant form in the England Test series at home earlier this year and was also among the wickets in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand.
He also enjoyed a great outing for Surrey in the County Championship ahead of the start of the Test series against England. The likes of VVS Laxman, Michael Vaughan, and Wasim Jaffer were surprised to see Ashwin being left out of India’s playing XI. Former India batsman Laxman said he would have picked Ashwin as a match-winning bowler over a bowler who could bat at no.8.
He also questioned captain Virat Kohli and the team management for their decision to drop the senior spinner. “For me, if you’re picking a bowler who is going to bat at No. 8, I would go for a bowler who could give match-winning performances with the ball and for me that would be R Ashwin. So, I would have gone with the balance that India had in the WTC final,” Laxman said on ESPN Cricinfo.
“In the past, I played in a team where you had four fast bowlers and invariably one of the fast bowlers was underbowled. So, I don’t know why Virat Kohli and the team management went with this decision,” he added.