R Ashwin's absence from playing XI testament to India's bowling strength, claims Ajit Agarkar

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R Ashwin's absence from playing XI testament to India's bowling strength, claims Ajit Agarkar

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SportsCafe Desk

06/10/2017

Ajit Agarkar feels that if a player like R Ashwin can’t make his place in playing XI, it just goes on to show how strong India’s bowling attack is. In their first match, India thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan, but a loss to Sri Lanka has made their match against South Africa a virtual quarterfinal.

Ravichandran Ashwin is arguably India's best spinner right now with 145 wickets, against his name, in just 105 ODIs. He has the ability to bowl different kinds of variations which can trouble set batsmen, yet, he didn't get a chance to play a game in the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy. 

"At the start of the tournament some of the batters were not in a great form, but once the tournament started all the batsmen are in good form and bowlers are doing well. All the five bowlers are in good form. A guy like (Ravichandran) Ashwin not making the eleven tells you how well the bowling unit is doing," Agarkar was quoted saying by Cricketnext.

Agarkar said that he was happy to see the young bowlers perform like a team and singled out Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav for special praise. Bumrah has proved himself as a death over specialist and impressed in the IPL by claiming 20 wickets in just 16 matches. Umesh Yadav, too, has been in inspired form by moving the ball both ways and testing batsmen by generating bounce extra bounce on Indian wickets. 

"As a combined attack, one of the best attacks we (India) had for a while. Even the ball has not swung in England, you got (Jasprit) Bumrah, Umesh (Yadav), variety is there, which helps the team always. Quite a complete attack. Not just balance, but there is variety, which makes captain's life easier," he added.

India started their Champions Trophy campaign on a very good note by beating Pakistan in their opening game. However, a loss to Sri Lanka, who chased down a 321 run target, means that India now face top-ranked South Africa in a do or die match tomorrow. Agarkar, who grabbed 288 wickets in 191 ODIs, still feels India is the strong contender for the Champions Trophy.

"They (India) are one of the favourites because of the form the players have shown," he said.

Before the Champions Trophy, there were question marks over the opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. However, the Indian openers have come good at the right time with Rohit scoring 91 against Pakistan and 78 against Sri Lanka while Shikhar got his century 10th century in the Sri Lanka game.

"Shikar's form is very encouraging, but Rohit who did not have much cricket in the last six months due to injury, his form is the biggest plus for India, because coming into the tournament, probably he didn't have enough runs that he would have liked but both the games (in which) he has batted, he looked comfortable," said the former pacer.

India will take on South Africa at the Oval on June 11. Both teams have two points.

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