Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne has cheekily stated that India made a mistake by not including their premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. After Shardul Thakur was injured, everyone expected Ashwin to slot back into the side but Ishant Sharma was chosen over him.
In the second of the 5-match Test series against England, India went in with four first-choice seamers thereby extending their tail. The decision to do so was debated upon, with some saying Ashwin didn’t do anything to get dropped.
Since the conditions in England generally favor pacers, Indian team management opted for four and left out Ashwin. However, on Day 4 of the Test, England’s spinning all-rounder, Moeen Ali, spun a web around the Indian batsmen, leaving the visitors reeling at 181/6 at end of play on Day 4.
Moeen generated a lot of bounce and was able to purchase a decent amount of spin as well on a deteriorating Lord’s track. This prompted Shane Warne to take a dig at India’s team selection, and he took to Twitter where he wrote:
“A spinner turning the game !!!! Surprise surprise, this is why you always play a spinner no matter what the conditions ! Remember you don’t pick a team just for the first innings. Spin to win @SkyCricket.”
A spinner turning the game !!!! Surprise surprise, this is why you always play a spinner no matter what the conditions ! Remember you don’t pick a team just for the first innings. Spin to win @SkyCricket 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) August 15, 2021
Shane Warne’s point could be vindicated on Day 5
India has a solitary spinner in Ravindra Jadeja who has been used more as a damage-control bowler. He has come in to relieve the pacers from their shifts and give them some time to breathe. Whether he can get the same amount of turn that Moeen did will be interesting to see.
At the end of Day 4, India was tottering at 181/6, leading England by just 154 runs. Rishabh Pant, in the company of Ishant Sharma, were at the crease.
The pitch wasn’t as easy to bat on as it was on Day 3, with the ball coming on to the bat a bit slow. Therefore, someone as wily as Ashwin could have put the batsmen under severe pressure. The match is set up for an intriguing finish, where all three results can be considered as a possibility.