New Delhi: Ravichandran Ashwin might be the No.2 Test bowler in the official ICC rankings, but that still hasn’t found him a place in India’s playing XI on the tour to England.
As the fourth Test got underway at The Oval in London Thursday, captain Virat Kohli made a couple of changes to the side that capitulated to the hosts in the third Test at Leeds, with Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami giving way to Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav. But Ravindra Jadeja has retained his place as the lone spinner/bowling all-rounder, with a fit-again Thakur also capable of propping up the batting.
Ashwin’s continued non-selection soon became a hot topic of conversation on social media, with commentator Harsha Bhogle, former England captain Michael Vaughan, former Australia all-rounder and well-travelled coach Tom Moody and politician and cricket lover Shashi Tharoor all weighing in.
I really hope it works but I am flabbergasted that India have gone in without Ashwin again.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 2, 2021
The non selection of @ashwinravi99 has to be greatest NON selection we have ever witnessed across 4 Tests in the UK !!! 413 Test wickets & 5 Test 100s !!!! #ENGvIND Madness …
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) September 2, 2021
Surprising to see no @ashwinravi99 in India's XI, I believe there's ample room to play both spinners and 3 specialist quicks. @root66 will line this attack up once again! #ENGvIND
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) September 2, 2021
I can't believe they left out Ashwin again, on England's most spin-friendly ground. This team is unbelievable. You pick your five best bowlers, @ashwinravi99 has to be the first or second name. Omitting him & @MdShami11 at the Oval is like a death-wish — as if you want to lose!
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 2, 2021
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Ashwin’s track record
The 34-year-old Ashwin has so far played 79 Test matches and picked up 413 wickets, putting him at number four on India’s all-time wicket-takers’ list, behind stalwarts Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh. In fact, Ashwin sits just four wickets shy of Harbhajan’s tally of 417.
The Tamil Nadu all-rounder has also scored 2,685 Test runs at an average of 27.68, with five centuries.
In contrast, the 32-year-old Jadeja has played 55 Tests, picked up 223 wickets, and scored 2118 runs at 34.72, with a lone Test century.
Against England, both in that country and in India, Ashwin has so far played 19 Tests, taking 88 wickets, while Jadeja has 47 wickets in 15 Tests. This shows that Ashwin has been a far more attacking option than Jadeja. Even on the batting front, Ashwin seems to like the England attack, having scoring 970 runs with one hundred and six fifties to his name, while Jadeja has scored 645 runs with five half-centuries.
(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)
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