In some big news coming in, ace spinner Ravi Ashwin is expected to be left out of the team that will take on the West Indies at North Sound, Antigua from August 22nd onwards. The off-spinner has been out of reckoning as far as overseas Tests go in recent times.
Ashwin was the frontline spinner sometime back and is probably the go-to bowler when India play at home on spin-friendly conditions. His decline in form in overseas Tests coupled with the rapid rise of left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav has meant that he is no longer the go-to option for Virat Kohli when India play abroad.
India are going to start their journey in the ICC Test Championship when they take on West Indies from 22nd August onwards. They are currently the No. 1 ranked Test team. Under Kohli’s captaincy, India achieved what no one other Indian team did- winning a Test series in Australia for the first time in 71 years.
Ashwin no longer India’s frontline Test match spinner
It must be noted that in India’s last overseas assignment in Australia, the premier off-spinner just played one Test match at Adelaide. He wasn’t too impressive there and was benched for the remainder of the tour.
In 26 away Tests, he has taken 101 wickets at an average of 31.40 and at a strike-rate of 63.49. This is far inferior to his record at home- 234 wickets in 31 games at an impressive average of 22.69. This clearly tells us that he is not as much as a force in overseas conditions that don’t suit spinners that much.
India are expected to go in with four bowlers and six batsmen including Ravindra Jadeja. With Rishabh Pant donning the wicket-keeping gloves, they would most likely go in with Kuldeep Yadav as the only frontline spinner.
It must be noted that R Ashwin was the star performer when India toured West Indies back in 2016. He was the man of the series as he took 17 wickets in four games and he belted two centuries as well. Will the team management consider his previous exploits and pick him in the first game or will they look at more recent performances and recent form and go in with Kuldeep Yadav? We would have to wait till Thursday to find out.
~ Written by Raghav Ravichandran
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