Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh supports the decision of leaving out Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing XI in the ongoing first Test against England in Nottingham. India surprisingly left out Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing XI in the first Test, opting for four fast bowlers and giving extra weightage to Ravindra Jadeja’s batting. Harbhajan Singh feels including Ashwin could have made India’s tail long.
While Ravichandran Ashwin remains a very threatening prospect, the 34-year old has been equally good overseas. Ashwin played an instrumental role in India’s Test series victory in Australia, followed by earning the man of the series when England visited the sub-continent earlier this year. He snared more than 20 wickets in four Tests and registered a hundred as the hosts won the series 3-1.
Harbhajan Singh underlined that playing Ravichandran Ashwin would have made the tail long as it’s uncertain how much might come in use. The 41-year old claimed that Ravindra Jadeja had bowled only three overs until Tea; hence, he could bowl when India desperately need spin. Singh also said that Jadeja has been a better batsman overseas and more than a handy presence lower down the order.
“I guess if you would have played Ashwin, the tail would have been very long. You didn’t know how much spin in fact will be used. Jaddu has bowled three out of 50 overs till tea. So overs that you will use spin, Jaddu can bowl those overs. And why do we jump to conclusion that Jaddu can’t be used as a lone spinner. And if you look at overseas performances, Jaddu has been a better batsman and has a solid presence in the lower order,” Singh told PTI.
There isn’t much to choose between Ash and Jaddu: Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh further claimed that both Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have promising records as spinners overseas. Though he understands Ashwin picked six wickets for Surrey in a first-class game recently, the considerations remain different in Tests. At the end of the day, Harbhajan claimed India don’t want Ashwin coming to bat with half the side down for a low score.
“If you look at overseas records, there isn’t much to choose between Ash and Jaddu. Yes, you would feel hard done by if you have just picked six wickets for Surrey. But the considerations of Test cricket are different. Obviously, with six wickets in last first-class game, he was bound to be confident. But you also don’t want a situation, where you are 75 for 5 and Ashwin is walking into bat,” he added.