India vs New Zealand: R Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja - What do the numbers say, who will Virat Kohli pick for 2nd Test?
There is always a toss up between Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin when India travel away from the subcontinent. While Jadeja got the nod ahead of Ashwin in West Indies and the final match in Australia, the management decided to go in with Ashwin for the first India vs New Zealand Test match in Wellington. This could be because New Zealand had a couple of left-handers in the top order, but Ashwin’s performance in the match left a lot to be desired.
While his bowling can still get him another match, but the fact that his batting has slipped away considerably over the last two years could work against his case. During the same time frame, Jadeja has bolstered his credentials with the bat and he could get the nod to play the role of the all-rounder in Christchruch.
In Wellington, Ashwin was castled by an almost unplayable delivery by Tim Southee in the first innings, but his mode of dismissal in the second innings will lead to a lot of furrowed eyebrows.
There is no denying the fact that Ashwin is a better spinner than Jadeja - he outbowled him in India’s home season and also looked the second best bowler after Ishant in Wellington. However, his dwindling returns with the bat could prompt the management to replace him with Jadeja.
Since 2017, Ashwin has only scored 573 runs at an average of 17.36 and has managed just a solitary half-century. Jadeja, on the other hand, has soared with the bat - he has scored 996 runs in 31 innings at an average of 49.80 and has notched up 10 half-centuries and a century.
The left-armer relies on accuracy and subtle changes in lines and lengths in Test cricket and could be used as a holding option while Kohli rotates his quick at the other end. If New Zealand do persist with Azaj Patel, he could also be attacked by Jadeja if the situation so demands.
India do not have an entirely productive tail in Ishant, Shami and Bumrah and hence, the addition of Jadeja will add heft to the lower order batting, something which Ashwin’s lean patch has failed to add.