VVS Laxman has questioned Ravichandran Ashwin’s exclusion from the Indian side for the second Test at Lord’s stating that he is unable to comprehend the reason behind it. The Indian batsman-turned-commentator has also stated that irrespective of all conditions, having four fast bowlers is a luxury.
Virat Kohli and the Indian team management once again decided to go with the 4 seamer-1 spinner formula for the second Test against England at Lord’s. Earlier, in the first Test match at Trent Bridge, India announced their playing XI with 4 pace bowlers and a lone spinner which raised many eyebrows. There existed a selection dilemma in the dressing room and the captain went on to choose the same combination for the second Test as the experienced Ishant Sharma, who has good records at Lord’s came in place of injured Shardul Thakur, by closing doors for a second spin all-rounder.
Recently, Ravichandran Ashwin displayed a great bowling performance in the WTC final by scalping 4 wickets against New Zealand and also for Surrey in the County Championship. The Trent Bridge pitch did not offer much turn and India picked Ravindra Jadeja as the lone spinner for the first Test considering his batting abilities. The Tamil Nadu born cricketer was expected to be in the playing XI for the second Test, but India opted for a fourth seamer instead. Former Indian batsman, VVS Laxman, has stated that it is difficult to understand how Ashwin is not getting selected in the playing XI.
“Ishant Sharma walks into the team if he is a 100% fit, maybe in place of Mohammed Siraj. I’m not able to comprehend what changed from WTC finals when Ashwin was your first-choice spinner and suddenly in a matter of a month, he’s not even finding a place in the XI,” Laxman told ESPNCricinfo.
The pitch at Lord’s is expected to benefit the seam bowlers as it offers great reverse swing with good seam movement. Having claimed seven wickets in the 2014 Test at Lord’s, Ishant Sharma was picked in the playing XI for the ongoing Test. Laxman, however, explained that four bowlers are always a luxury in the team irrespective of all conditions.
“I always believe, four fast bowlers are a luxury irrespective of the conditions you are playing in. India have got three quality fast bowlers, whether one of them is Siraj or Ishant, it doesn’t matter. Both of them have got the ability to bowl long spells,” Laxman said.
The former Indian batsman also pointed to the fact that Kohli would like to continue with the same model in England. That would imply that the chances of Ashwin playing in the series is slim.
“Ashwin adds variety to that bowling attack and he’s got an abundance of experience. I’m not able to comprehend the reasoning behind this decision but I think it’s pretty clear after listening to Kohli in the press conferences in Nottingham and also here that he wants to continue with this template,” Laxman added.
I think Ashwin will have to wait. Yes, it’s overcast now but it’s not going to remain the same in all five days. So if Ashwin is not playing in these conditions, I don’t see him getting into the XI as I don’t believe Kohli will change this template soon.”