The wait to feature in India’s playing eleven against England overseas is further dragged for Ravichandran Ashwin who will still be warming the bench during the fourth Test at Oval. Though Virat Kohli and Co. announced two changes in the squad- Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur are back in place of Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, the two of whom are suffering from slight niggle, the squad had no offerings for Ravi Ashwin. The visitors continue to stick to their ‘4+1’ template, where the team has still opted for Ravindra Jadeja over Ravi Ashwin in the penultimate Test of the series.
After Joe Root led England won the toss and put India to bat first, Indian skipper Virat Kohli mentioned that 4 English left-handers would be a better situation for Ravindra Jadeja. The validation, however, has not gone well with the fans and the cricket experts who were waiting to see the senior player in the cricketing action at Oval after the hosts suffered a crushing defeat of an innings and 76 runs at Headingley.
I can't believe they left out Ashwin again, on England's most spin-friendly ground. This team is unbelievable. You pick your five best bowlers, @ashwinravi99 has to be the first or second name. Omitting him & @MdShami11 at the Oval is like a death-wish — as if you want to lose!
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 2, 2021
And I doubt if any other Indian captain or anyone in the world would have benched Ashwin for four-straight Tests when the other spinner is not getting wickets. They would have swapped a batsman and made Ashwin play.
— Venkata Krishna B (@venkatatweets) September 2, 2021
Ravichandran Ashwin is still not in the Playing XI as India persist with Jadeja, plus 4 seamers – Bumrah, Siraj, Shardul and Umesh. Don’t yet understand why @ashwinravi99 still can’t make the cut #INDvsEND #Oval
— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) September 2, 2021
Surprising to see no @ashwinravi99 in India's XI, I believe there's ample room to play both spinners and 3 specialist quicks. @root66 will line this attack up once again! #ENGvIND
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) September 2, 2021
No including Ashwin from the ongoing test at Oval has come in as a surprise for veterans who backed his inclusion in the penultimate Test.
Having played at the surface for a brief time after WTC Final, Ashwin is better acclimatized to the playing conditions where he played for Surrey for a short County stint ahead of the Test series. He outplayed Somerset’s batting with 6/27 in 15 overs, dismantling them for 69 in their second innings.
Despite such sublime form ahead of the start of the series, it is disappointing to see the 34-year old warming the benches and carrying the drinks for the team so far in the series.