Former England pacer Ryan Sidebottom has claimed that Indian all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin is an outstanding player while he also suggested that Axar Patel made Test cricket look easy. He also said that England made some pretty wrong moves in terms of selection but Root shouldn't be blamed alone.
After winning the Test series opener in Chennai, England were on a roll as they were able to carry forward their incredible form from Sri Lanka against a far difficult side like India as well. But that turned out to be a lone Test where the visitors were able to do well as in the remainder of the series as they were beaten black and blue by a rampaging India side, which eventually won the series 3-1.
One of the major reasons behind the great India triumph was the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel as they combined to take 59 wickets in the series. Former English left-arm pacer Ryan Sidebottom is also in awe of the spin duo and he termed R Ashwin an 'outstanding' player. He also lauded the debutante Axar Patel for bowling well.
"Ashwin is an outstanding cricketer. He bats brilliantly, bowls, fields. He is just a great all-round cricketer. It was great for Axar to come in and take all those wickets. He made Test cricket look easy, the way he performed. They just bowled consistently in that area. They bowled straight. Some went on with the arm and some spun. They made it very difficult for the England batsmen and the Indian spinners showed their experience on home soil and they bowled fantastically well together," Ryan Sidebottom told TOI.
Axar Patel replaced Ravindra Jadeja well in the series as he played a key role in the 3-1 win. Sidebottom stated that there might be a selection headache for India once India's premier all-rounder Jadeja returns to the fold.
"That's a good question. That's down to again the coaching staff and Virat Kohli. He has now got a little bit of a selection headache about who he is going to go with. Axar performed so well and you will be disappointed if you then got dropped. That's the beauty of sport and cricket, players coming through injury and doing well and then they cement the place. Only time will tell who India will actually pick. Axar would also want to do well in other conditions, like Ashwin and the other players showcase how good they are in English conditions or in New Zealand."
England's team selection was widely criticized after they played only one spinner in the day-night Test and went for three seamers on a turner. They were again at it in the final Test as they played only one specialist pacer and an extra batsman instead on a wicket that had something for pacers too besides spinners. Sidebottom has reckoned that England made some wrong selection moves but for that skipper, Joe Root shouldn't be blamed alone.
"There's always going to be critics whatever you do as a captain. Virat Kohli has had it as well. Yes, they probably got that wrong in terms of selection. There were always going to be a spinning track and playing fast seamers was never really going to work. I don't think, it is just down to Joe Root. It's a mistake that England made, the camp made and the coaches made. India just capitalized on that situation. I think also the tail was a little bit too long."