The exclusion of R Ashwin, the renowned off-spinner, from Team India’s playing XI in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia has sparked a wave of criticism from cricket pundits and experts on Wednesday, June 7.
Notably, Rohit Sharma, the captain of team India admitted that they dropped Ashwin from the playing XI after judging the playing conditions at the Oval and decided to go with the four seamers, namely Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami.
Surprisingly, India’s former cricketer, Harbhajan Singh wasn’t taken aback by India’s decision to choose Shardul Thakur over the former Chennai Super Kings spinner, Ashwin and called it a ‘bold move’ from Rohit Sharma & Co.
During an interaction with Star Sports, the veteran spinner said:
“I am not exactly surprised looking at these conditions. Either you play R Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja. Unfortunately, R Ashwin misses out from this team. Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and the top five and six look very very good.”
The Punjab cricketer further added that he was expecting Ishan Kishan to keep wickets in the marquee event ahead of KS Bharat. Here’s what he said:
“We were thinking Ishan Kishan might get a nod ahead of Bharat, but that didn’t happen. But it’s good to see India playing with four seamers.”
While Harbhajan Singh wasn’t shocked by India’s decision to exclude Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing 11 in the World Test Championship final, the likes of Ricky Ponting and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly openly slammed India for their exclusion of R Ashwin from the high-stakes contest.
Australia, after putting to bat first, seized a considerable advantage in the first innings on the opening day by racking up 327 runs with only three wickets down at the stumps. The Indian bowlers struggled immensely with their line and length as the match progressed, failing to take any wickets during the later hours of the game.
Australia XI: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey(w), Pat Cummins(c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.
India XI: Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Srikar Bharat(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.