Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has raised eyebrows at India’s surprising move to leave out Ravichandran Ashwin, the top-ranked Test bowler, in the World Test Championship final against Australia at the Oval in London. After the toss and Rohit Sharma’s announcement of the playing XI for the WTC final, the omission of Ravichandran Ashwin became the major talking point. As the match progressed and Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne took control, it appeared that India missed Ashwin’s presence.
Ashwin, with 61 wickets, is the leading wicket-taker for India in the WTC 2021-23 cycle and currently holds the top spot in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers. Earlier this year, during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Ashwin claimed 25 wickets and shared the Player of the Series award with Ravindra Jadeja. Follow your favourite cricket team with attractive cricket betting odds from Nextbet.
In light of this, Gavaskar expressed his perplexity over India’s decision to exclude the off-spinner and admitted to being bewildered by their selection.
“Well, first and foremost, they could have had R Ashwin in the team (what India could have done differently on Day 1?). It really baffles me irrespective of what the conditions are, the No. 1 bowler in the ICC rankings is not able to find a place in the Indian playing XI. That is something that has baffled me all the time whenever it’s Ashwin. Even the last time when India were here (in England), they were just not picking him,” Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar emphasized that India missed a trick by not playing Ravichandran Ashwin, pointing out that Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur entered the match with incomplete bowling performances from the recently concluded IPL. Umesh bowled 14 overs without picking up a wicket, conceding 54 runs, while Shardul leaked 75 runs for a solitary wicket in his 18 overs. Gavaskar believed that India missed an opportunity by not including Ashwin, especially considering the number of left-handers in the Australian batting order. Get all the latest updates from the world of cricket only on Nextbet Sports.
“Sometimes, you get a little carried away. If you have four quality seam bowlers, it’s a different thing. Top-quality seam bowlers. Two of our seam bowlers were undercooked. One is Umesh Yadav, who did not play in the last few matches for KKR, and Shardul Thakur, who hadn’t bowled a lot,” Gavaskar commented.
“On the other hand, you had two bowlers who played every single game for their franchises. They might have been a little overcooked despite it being a 4-over spell. With so many left-handers in the Australian XI, an off-spinner should have been there. I think that’s where India missed a trick,” he added.