India’s line-up for the first Test against England caused instant debate with the exclusion of India’s ace spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin. While in hindsight it might seem like the decision worked out as planned for the visitors, the absence of a match-winner like Ashwin could be felt at certain stages.
With Joe Root flowing through the gears effortlessly with some support from his compatriots, mainly in a solid stand with Dom Sibley, India looked a bit out of sorts and clueless in the middle overs. With England’s troubles against spin bowling, India’s ace Ravichandran Ashwin could have provided vital timely breakthroughs on a day when the sun was beating down at Trent Bridge.
On ESPN’s Cricinfo show Matchday Live, VVS Laxman was vocal about backing Ravichandran Ashwin’s skills against this England line-up, despite the weather conditions. Here’s what the former Indian batsman had to say:
“Coming back to Ashwin’s selection, I just feel like going forward, even though there is forecast for rain, I would always back a match-winner like Ashwin to create an impression and to be inventive, provide some penetration and to be amongst wickets. What India require is four attacking, wicket-taking bowling options, and then Jadeja can be your fifth bowling option, who can restrict the flow of runs,” said Laxman.
As the match progressed, we could see the wicket became flat and there was a little bit of turn for Jadeja. If Ashwin would have been there, he would have created more chances and it would have been a different story in the middle overs.
Ashwin could play a key role as the series progresses
While the Indian team was on a much-needed break in the UK before the series got underway, Ravichandran Ashwin got his preparations underway as he played a county game for Surrey.
In the match against Somerset on a dustbowl of a surface at The KIA Oval, Ashwin ran riot in the second innings to skittle Somerset out for a measly 69 and claimed figures of 6 for 27 in 15 overs.
The fourth Test between India and England is scheduled to take place at the same venue and Ashwin will be eager to unleash on the England batsmen after a pleasant recent experience at the same venue.