Senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has now taken the mask upon the theories of his exclusion at Lord’s. What is interesting is that at one point the management had thought of playing him in the second Test but had to change their minds on the morning of the game.
It came as a surprising move in Nottingham when Virat Kohli announced that Ravindra Jadeja is the lone spinner in the eleven and pace-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur was preferred over Ravichandran Ashwin. This, despite that the Tamil Nadu off-spinner featured in the WTC final against New Zealand, notably in similar conditions, and performed well then.
Shardul Thakur’s injury after the first Test ruled him out for the second Test; he made way for another pacer in Ishant Sharma, who missed the Nottingham Test due to injury.
Before the match, they were like, ‘You might play’: Ravichandran Ashwin
In his YouTube show, ‘Kutti Story’, with fielding coach R Sridhar, Ravichandran Ashwin revealed that he was likely to play at Lord’s because the weather was warm, and the conditions seemed dry in the days leading up to the game.
However, it rained in the morning, and it became cloudy, which prompted the Indian management to once again opt for four pacers, at the expense of lengthening the tail.
“The funny thing was, before the match, they were like, ‘There’s a heatwave. You please be ready mate. You might play.’ Upon coming to breakfast in the morning, rains started lashing out. I asked, ‘Won’t you tell about heatwave after it came? Why gave me hope only for it to end in disappointment!’,” Ashwin said.
Ravichandran Ashwin is the number 2 ranked ICC Test bowler, fourth-ranked all-rounder, and has been in form of his life in the previous two series – in Australia, where he dismissed Steve Smith thrice, and then at home against England, where he snapped 32 wickets and notched up a hundred on a difficult batting track in Chennai. However, the management remains skeptical of his bowling in English conditions and against right-handed batters, while there is no doubt that Jadeja is a better batsman than Ashwin.
India won the Lord’s Test by 151 runs as their bowlers bowled England out in the second innings inside two sessions on Day 5. They move to Headingley for the third Test next week.