It would not be completely wrong to say that India are yet to come to a conclusion on whom to play as the sole spinner in overseas Tests. The new management has given up on India’s traditional way of always playing with two frontline spinners. The Virat Kohli-Ravi Shastri combination now prefers to play one frontline spinner in overseas Tests for obvious reasons. With the pitches outside home more suited to pacers, India prefer three pacers and one spinner.
However, the team management is yet to finalize on who will be the main man for that purpose. Last year, Ravichandran Ashwin was getting the chances in the playing eleven. However, a few injury setbacks did not help his cause. Kuldeep Yadav then got a chance in the playing eleven for the Sydney Test earlier this year and grabbed it with both hands by picking up a five-wicket haul.
That performance from Kuldeep had prompted Ravi Shastri to state that the chinaman spinner will be India’s main man in overseas Tests. Unsurprisingly, many thought that the toss-up would be between Kuldeep and Ashwin when India take on West Indies. However, the team-management threw a big surprise by benching both of them and picking Ravindra Jadeja. India picked Jadeja in both the Tests and Ravi Shastri has now explained the reason behind it.
“The reason why we picked Jadeja in the first Test, was in case we fielded, and the track was damp, with his pace, he would have made life a little awkward for the batsmen. He could have been used on the first session of play on day one,” Ravi Shastri told the host broadcaster SPN Sports before the start of second day’s play in Jamaica.
Ravi Shastri also said that leaving out Ashwin and Kuldeep is not an easy decision. He, however, went on to point out what Jadeja brings to the table. The former India all-rounder said that apart from his bowling, Jadeja also contributes with his fielding and improved batting.
“It is a difficult decision to leave out Ashwin or Kuldeep (Yadav),” Shastri explained. “Look at ‘Jaddu’, his record is fabulous. You have to see what he brings to the table. He is probably best fielder in the world now and he has improved his batting like hell. And if you see these tracks (in West Indies)… from what I have seen of this track (in Jamaica), I don’t think there would be much on offer for the spinners where you would need control.”
India, meanwhile, have taken a firm grip on the second Test. After piling up 416, India had reduced West Indies to 87 for 7 at the end of day two.
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