Till recently, he was an indispensable part of India’s Test set-up. With 342 Test scalps in 65 outings, the off-spinner Ravi Ashwin has cemented his place among India’s top wicket-takers. But the 33-year-old has witnessed a slump in the past couple of years, thanks to reasons like injury and the fast arrival of young spinners like Kuldeep Yadav. Ashwin lost his place in the limited-overs squads a couple of years ago and now, his place in red-ball cricket squad has also come under the scanner.
He didn’t feature in any of the two Tests that India played against the West Indies recently although he was in the squad. He has been picked for the upcoming South Africa series as well but will he get a game? The head coach Ravi Shastri was recently asked the reason why the Tamil Nadu spinner didn’t get a game in the Caribbeans and whether he is no more an automatic choice in the long format.
Ashwin has more than decent bowling record in Tests versus South Africa (38 wickets in seven matches at an average of 17.57) and was the Man of the Series last time the Proteas toured to play a Test series by picking 31 wickets in four games.
Shastri responded briefly saying excluding Ravi Ashwin was a tactical move by the team management and refused to divulge the details. “Those are tactical things, which I can’t speak to you. You saw in the West Indies what happened, and now you will see the results. You can’t ask me who plays in the eleven because everyone is part of us,” the 57-year-old said while speaking to Hindustan Times.
Shastri qualified Ashwin as “world-class” but also said the same about his competitors like Ravindra Jadeja and Yadav, who he felt will be the same in due course. According to him, India will have a clear picture of the spin spearhead in the Test side in one year’s time from now.
Make your own judgement
“The three-Test series will start, (and) you will get a chance to make your own judgement. He (Ashwin) is world class, we got Ravindra Jadeja who is world class, we got Kuldeep Yadav who will be world class in due course, he is still young. You guys decide, in a year’s time copy the same question,” he said.
Ashwin is the fastest to reach 300 wickets in Tests and the fourth-highest for India after Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434) and Harbhajan Singh (417). He has also scored 2,361 runs with four centuries in the longest format.
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