Team India captain Virat Kohli did not include off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in his playing eleven for the fourth successive time in the ongoing Test series against England.
Kohli hardly had to apply any mind while picking the pacers after injuries to Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami. But there was a need to pick any one between the world No. 2 Test bowler Ashwin and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
While including Jadeja in the final XI, Kohli said: “It’s something that we thought is a good match-up for Jadeja as well, because mostly all our seamers bowl over the wicket. It’s a nice little spot for the left-handers as well.
“I think according to the match-ups, it fits perfectly for our team – plus the balance he is giving us with the bat as well currently,” added Kohli at the toss for the fourth Test.
However, this reasoning was not accepted by many as Ashwin has dismissed the most left-handers in Test cricket.
In fact, Ashwin is the only bowler in Test history to dismiss 200 plus left-handed batsmen in the format.
Former England cricketer Nick Compton didn’t mince any words in saying that Virat has ‘personal issues’ with Ashwin due to which the latter has been benched for successive games.
“Please can someone explain how Kohli obvious personal issues with Ashwin are allowed to cloud an obvious selection issue? #india,” Compton tweeted.
Please can someone explain how Kohli obvious personal issues with Ashwin are allowed to cloud an obvious selection issue? #india
— Nick Compton (@thecompdog) September 2, 2021
Meanwhile, former England captain Michael Vaughan was aghast on Twitter. “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 !!!! Madness,” wrote Vaughan.
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) September 2, 2021
In the last two years before the England series, Jadeja had taken 29 wickets in 13 Tests at a strike rate of 69, while Ashwin has taken 71 wickets in 14 Tests with a much better strike rate of 46. There is hardly any doubt that Jadeja as a batsman has improved in recent years, but as a bowler he has faded during the same time.