Why was Ashwin dropped against Windies? Rahane explains
The Indian cricket team started its ICC World Test Championship journey. Team India is up against Windies in the first Test of the two-match series. Thursday was the opening day of the Test. Indian skipper Virat Kohli sprang a surprise when regular Test spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was excluded from the team. India's vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane cleared the air on the same.
Speaking on Ashwin's exclusion following the opening day of the Test, Rahane said that it was indeed a tough choice to drop him. However, he added that it was done by the management to find the best combination for the side. "It is hard to find players like Ashwin and Rohit (Sharma) sit out, but it was all for the team," Rahane said.
"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," added Rahane.
Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar too expressed his astonishment over Ashwin's exclusion, even though the latter had performed exceedingly well against the Windies, both with the bat and the ball. "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," Gavaskar quoted.
Speaking on Ashwin's record against Windies, it's been phenomenal. In 11 matches so far, he has claimed 60 wickets at an average of 21.85, including four five-wicket hauls and the best figure of 7/83. Moreover, with the bat, he has scored 552 runs at a fine average of 50.18, including four centuries. Interestingly, he has never lost a Test against them.
However, considering his Test performance since 2018, it's been decent with the ball, claiming 38 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 25.36, with no five-wicket hauls. With the bat, Ashwin has scored 306 runs, at an average of 20.40 with no centuries, while his highest score is 38. Overall, it's been an average performance, but a decent show with the ball.
While the world debates over whether Ashwin should have been included in the team for the opening Windies Test, the author too is in the mix. He firmly supports Gavaskar and Rahane's respective stands, besides claiming that when it comes to Windies, Ashwin is a top choice automatically. However, considering his recent form, the decision is somewhat justified but he still deserved a chance.