It was rather surprising to see Ravichandran Ashwin not getting a place in the Indian eleven for the Antigua Test. There were indications that the off-spinner was not an automatic selection for the Test, one thought he still had a very good chance of making it given his outstanding record against and in West Indies.
But with India deciding to go with only one frontline spinner, it was Ravindra Jadeja who made the cut at Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav’s expense.
Ashwin’s omission led to a scathing remark from former captain Sunil Gavaskar who is part of the TV commentary team for the series. “A man with that kind of record, especially against West Indies… He doesn’t find a place in this playing XI. That is stunning, astonishing,” Cricnfo reported Gavaskar as saying during commentary.
Ashwin, team’s first choice spinner not so long ago, has a stellar all-round record against West Indies but it, obviously, was not enough to convince the team management to give him a go against his favourite opponents.
However vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane defended the team management’s hard call as he felt that combination warranted Ravindra Jadeja as the single spinner and Hanuma Vihari as the sixth batsman.
“It’s difficult when you miss a player like Ashwin but team management is always thinking as to what is the best combination.
“They thought Jadeja was a good option on this wicket as we needed a sixth batsman, who can actually bowl. Vihari can actually bowl on this track. So that was the communication between captain and coach. It is hard to find players like Ashwin and Rohit (Sharma) sit out but’s all for the team,” Rahane said at post-match media interaction.
– With inputs from PTI