'Rohit and I think differently': Ganguly, noted ex-cricketers flabbergasted after India drop R Ashwin for WTC final
R Ashwin's omission has left the cricketing world in disbelief with noted former cricketers expressing their disappointment at Rohit Sharma's tactical call-up.
India have dropped Ravichandran Ashwin from the all-important World Test Championship final against Australia at The Oval, and no one seems to make any sense of it. Yes, the No. 1-ranked Test bowler in the world and India's leading wicket-taker in the 2021-2023 WTC cycle, Ashwin lost out a place in Indian Playing XI to Ravindra Jadeja, who is playing as the only spinner in the team. Once again, due to 'conditions', for the sixth time in a row, Ashwin does not feature in the Indian team in a Test match in England.
Ashwin's omission, and rightfully so has left the cricketing world in disbelief with noted former cricketers expressing their disappointment at Rohit Sharma's tactical call-up.
Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain said at lunch: "See it's an afterthought. And I don't believe in afterthoughts. As a captain, you take a decision before the toss and India had decided that they would go in with 4 fast bowlers. Having said that, in the last couple of years they have had success in the last couple of years with 4 pacers. They've won Test matches but if you ask me... if I was captaining - and every captain is different - Rohit and I think differently. I would find it very hard to keep a spinner out of Ashwin's quality out of the XI."
Michael Vaughan, former England captain tweeted: "No Ravi Ashwin for #India is a big mistake... !! #WTC2023
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Sanjay Manjrekar, former India batter, on ESPNCricinfo said: "I'm a little surprised that Ashwin hasn't been picked considering the number of left-handers in the opposition. So I hope it's a move that is completely dictated by the pitch and I hope there is movement for the seam bowlers not just for the first day but on Day 2 and 3.
"Then it becomes a good selection. Ashwin, for many reasons, would have been a good selection; he adds a bit of batting depth as well. And that Ashwin which we say in the WTC final and the Ashwin that we've seen today. There is a marked change in the way he bowls. This Ashwin you think would have done well in these conditions."
Dodda Ganesh, the former India pacer summed up his emotions in a simple 'heartbreak' emoji.
Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain was pretty harsh on India's combination while commentating on air: "Looks like India has picked a bowling line up for the first inning of the match (pitch beneath the grass looks dry). Surprised to see Ashwin out with the amount of left-handers Australia have."
Ashwin, with 61 wickets, is the world's third-highest wicket-taker in the WTC 2021-23 cycle behind Australia's Nathan Lyon (83) and Kagiso Rabada on South Africa (67). Furthermore, as Manjrekar pointed out, Ashwin has a stellar record against left-handers - out of his 474 Test wickets, over 230 are left-handers, and with five lefties in Australia's line-up, Ashwin was pretty much a sure-shot starter.