Former Indian middle-order batsman VVS Laxman has strongly supported Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion for the second Test against England at Lord’s. India surprisingly omitted experienced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing XI, naming four spinners and Ravindra Jadeja. But VVS Laxman underlined he would leave out Shardul Thakur and take Ashwin.
While Ravichandran Ashwin remains a very threatening prospect at home, 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.
However, Shardul Thakur made key strikes in both the innings in the first Test in Nottingham; however, VVS Laxman hopes Ravichandran Ashwin plays at Lord’s. The 47-year old feels Ashwin can perform in any condition and highlighted that a bowler with over 400 Test wickets can perform well anywhere. Laxman further stated that the 34-year old adds variety and strengthens the bowling unit.
“I hope that they will make the right call by taking Ashwin in the playing eleven because as I mentioned before, he is more than a capable bowler in any condition. Not only when the wicket suits only spin bowlers or when the weather is overcast. He is a skilled bowler and is someone who has 400 plus Test wickets and for anyone who has 400 scalps knows how to adapt to various conditions. So, he’ll add to the variety and strengthen the bowling unit.” Laxman told ESPN Cricinfo.
Ashwin will give options to Virat Kohli irrespective of the conditions: VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman continued saying that Ashwin will add variety to an already stronger bowling unit, with three quality fast bowlers and an all-rounder in Ravindra Jadeja. The 134-Test veteran conceded the off-spinner will give the captain options regardless of the conditions and can contribute with the bat as well. Hence, he would choose Ashwin for Shardul Thakur.
“You’ve got three quality fast bowlers, an all-rounder in Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, who can contribute with the bat. He has got five Test hundreds, so he will add variety and give options to Virat Kohli irrespective of the conditions. I would swap Shardul Thakur for Ravichandran Ashwin,” he added.