Former cricketer Michael Vaughan has termed off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin repeatedly being snubbed from the Indian playing XI in the ongoing Test series against England as the greatest non-selection.
Speaking with Harsha Bhogle at CricBuzz, Vaughan said that the home side would be chuffed to bits going into the fifth and final Test without having faced a single ball from a bowler who has taken 413 Test wickets,
Vaughan said that given Ashwin’s tactical nous and the fact that he knows the conditions at the Oval well due to his County experience, the off-spinner should have been a part of the Indian team in the 4th Test.
“It’s the greatest non-selection. England are going into the 5th Test against India without facing a single ball from R Ashwin. 413 Test wickets, five Test hundreds, the experience, the know-how. He has been playing for Surrey this season, so he knows the Oval ground,” said Vaughan.
Ravichandran Ashwin once again found himself on the sidelines for the Oval Test as the Virat Kohli-led team management stuck to their four-seamer plus one spinner template. Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami made way for seam-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav, leaving fans and pundits flabbergasted.
Shardul Thakur repaid the management’s faith with the bat on the first day of the Test as the all-rounder smashed the second-fastest Test fifty (off 31 balls) by an Indian to lift the visitors to a respectable total of 191 in the first innings. It remains to be seen how he fares with the ball.
Grass or no grass, I’ll always play Ashwin in my team: Michael Vaughan
Ravichandran Ashwin has been at the peak of his powers in the past 12 months. He is the No. 2-ranked Test bowler in the world, and in the past three years, his performance in overseas conditions has seen a marked improvement.
Ashwin played a crucial role with both bat and ball during India’s historic triumph in Australia last winter. In fact, he was India’s second-best bowler in the non-favorable conditions in Southampton during the World Test Championship final.
Vaughan believes that Indian management will have to find a way to integrate Ravichandran Ashwin back into the playing XI.
He also added that India’s decision to go for Shardul Thakur in Ashwin’s place may have been motivated by the overcast conditions and the presence of grass on the pitch. Vaughan signed off by stating he would play Ashwin in all conditions if he was captaining the Indian team and said:
”They have to work on their system to make sure R Ashwin gets in the side. They clearly saw grass on the wicket and thought it was 225-par score week. Grass or no grass, R Ashwin plays in my team.”