India vs West Indies: ‘It astonished me’ - Sunil Gavaskar reacts to India’s team selection in Antigua
Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar was not pleased with India’s team selection during their first Test encounter against West Indies on Thursday and the legend expressed his disappointment at veteran spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin missing the cut despite his brilliant record in the Carribean. “[The selection] astonished me,” Gavaskar said during commentary. “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.”
Against West Indies, Ashwin has played in 11 matches and has picked up 60 wickets at an average of 21.85 and with a strike rate of 46.2. The last series India played in West Indies was back in 2016, he claimed 17 wickets and was the Man of the Series. Back then, he had raced away to 350 runs.
However, India decided to go with three pace options - Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma - with Ravindra Jadeja playing as the only spin option.
There was also no place in the final 11 for Rohit Sharma with Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari preferred in the middle-order of a batting line-up where captain Virat Kohli has been the star performer so far in this campaign.
In a surprise move, West Indies omitted first-choice wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich and gave a debut to 30-year-old middle-order batsman Shamarh Brooks. Shai Hope will do duties behind the stumps for the match.
Earlier, West Indies captain Jason Holder won the toss and put India in to bat. The visitors were off to a disappointing start as they lost their first three wickets quite early with Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli all getting dismissed in the first hour of the match.
This was the first time after 16 innings that India lost their first two wickets for single digit. The last time this happened was way back in 28 June 2011 when Abhinav Mukund and Rahul Dravid were dismissed for 8 at Bridgetown.
West Indies -- Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope (wicketkeeper), Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Shamarh Brooks, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel
India -- Virat Kohli (captain), K.L. Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma
(With agency inputs)