When you make a bold move, you are bound to face some flak and if the move doesn’t work then, even more, such has become the trend. Reeling at 25/3, the last thing India needed was a question mark over the team selection.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma were the notable omissions when India announced their playing XI for the first Test against Windies on Thursday. After Jason Holder won the toss and invited India to bat first, Lokesh Rahul and Mayank Agarwal came out to bat in Antigua.
Soon Agarwal was back into the dugout, as was Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. With the team struggling, Sharma’s exclusion became even more potent. However, amid ‘astonishment’ and ‘surprises’, Ajinkya Rahane has defended the team selection and explained reasons for dropping Ashwin and Rohit, a decision which was tough.
Rahane said to reporters after the stumps on 1st day, “It’s difficult when you miss a player like Ashwin but team management is always thinking as to what is the best combination. The management thought Jadeja was a good option on this wicket as we needed a sixth batsman, who can actually bowl,” Rahane added. He said that the coach and captain had a discussion and wanted more options and Vihari can actually bowl on this track.
Gavaskar questions team combination
Legend Sunil Gavaskar questioned Ashwin’s exclusion. Ashwin scored 552 runs with four hundreds and has taken 60 wickets with four five-fors against Windies in 11 Tests (home and away) and Gavaskar said, “it is stunning and astonishing that a man with that kind of record, especially against West Indiesdoesn’t find a place in the playing XI.”
Windies prove it’s not going to be a cakewalk
Amid all the unnecessary attention, Windies dismissed suggestions it is not going to be a cakewalk for the visitors. Kemar Roach picked up 3 wickets and Shannon Gabriel dismissed another couple of batsmen as India were reduced to 203-6 at the stumps of Day 1 which was affected by rain. Had it not been for Rahane’s 81 and small but useful contributions from KL Rahul, Vihari and Rishabh Pant, India would have been staring at a disappointing total.
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