Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar thinks that no other top cricketer in India has been treated like star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been. Ashwin was left off India’s playing eleven when they lost to Australia by 209 runs in the World Test Championship (WTC) Final at The Oval.
Before the WTC final, there was a lot of talk about whether or not Ashwin should be in the starting eleven. Different people had different ideas about this. Former bowlers from both countries were very upset that he wasn’t in the starting eleven because India couldn’t control the ball.
“In the modern age, no other great Indian bowler has been treated as strangely as Ashwin has. Tell me, if the team had the No. 1 batter in the ICC rankings, would he have been left out of the starting XI just because he had not scored runs on a green pitch or a dry spin-friendly pitch in the past? Certainly not.
“This is not being smart after the fact; it’s a trend that has been seen over the years.” He would have already played more than 100 Test matches if not for this “hard to understand thought,” Gavaskar wrote in his piece for the newspaper “Mid-Day.”
“Even if India wins, we shouldn’t forget how Ashwin was treated, and no matter what explanation is given, the bowling results in the game where India had to chase 444 tell us that dropping him wasn’t the best choice,” he said.
With 474 wickets in 92 matches at a strike rate of 51.8 and 32 five-wicket hauls per innings, Ashwin is the best Test bowler. However, he was left out of the big match because India wanted to use four fast bowlers instead, even though Australia’s batting order has five left-handed players. Ashwin had also been left off the team for India’s games in England in 2021 and 2022 because of the weather.
“According to the ICC results, Ravichandran Ashwin was dropped by India. He was the best bowler in the game. The Australians had five left-handers on their team. Travis Head, one of the left-handers, scored a quick hundred in the first inning. Alex Carey, another left-hander, scored 48 in the first inning and an unbeaten 66 in the second.
“During that second inning, he and another left-handed batsman, Mitchell Starc, scored 93 runs together. This was when India was trying to get rid of Australia quickly in the second inning. Who knows what would have happened if Ashwin had been on the team? He could have helped with the bat, too,” Gavaskar said.
He also said that he was upset with how India chose their shots during the match, especially in the second test. “For me, the most frustrating part of the Indian innings was how Rohit Sharma, the captain, and Cheteshwar Pujara chose their shots. It’s hard to understand why Pujara tried a ramp shot since that’s not a shot he uses often.
“To try it even two deliveries after Rohit was out made me wonder what they were thinking at the time.” Pujara is known for his patience and willingness to take hits while staying at the crease. So why on earth did he try to play that shot when wickets were more important than runs?” wrote the former captain of India.
“Pressure can make a player do strange things, which is why Test cricket is the highest level of the game and the World Test Championship final is the ultimate Test match,” he said.