'Playing WTC final and you don’t pick No.1 bowler': Sunil Gavaskar tears into Rohit and Co. for leaving out R Ashwin
Sunil Gavaskar lashed out at the Indian think-tank after R Ashwin was overlooked for the WTC final against Australia.
With Travis Head and Steve Smith putting Australia on top on the opening day of the Ultimate Test, legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar lashed out at the Indian think-tank for picking senior pacer Umesh Yadav in the final of the ICC World Test Championship against Australia. Resuming their epic rivalry with Pat Cummins and Co. in the WTC final at The Oval, Rohit Sharma's Team India made a bold statement by naming a Ravichandran Ashwin-less side for the summit clash.
Ashwin, who is the No.1 bowler in Test cricket, was the wrecker-in-chief when Australia toured India for the high-profile Border-Gavaskar Trophy in the second edition of the WTC. While legendary cricketer Sourav Ganguly opined that India missed a trick by not including a match-winner like Ashwin, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting claimed that the Asian giants have fallen into a trap in the WTC final.
Reflecting on India's performance at Stumps Day 1, batting legend Gavaskar echoed the same sentiments as the ex-Indian skipper slammed Rohit and Co. for overlooking Ashwin in the summit clash. Speaking to Star Sports, former Indian skipper Gavaskar called out senior pacer Umesh, who failed to make an impact after replacing Ashwin in the Indian XI against Australia.
'You don't look at the pitch for players like him'
“India missed a trick by not playing Ravi Ashwin. He's the No. 1 Ranked bowler. You don't look at the pitch for players like him. You are playing a World Test Championships final, and you don’t pick the number one bowler in Test cricket. This decision from Team India is beyond my understanding. I would have picked him in place of Umesh Yadav, who was out of action and looks out of rhythm,” Gavaskar said.
Ashwin was also overlooked by the Indian think tank during India's tour of England as the senior all-rounder failed to feature in any of the four Test matches against the Three Lions. Ashwin is the most successful bowler against left-handed batters in Test cricket. The veteran spinner has dismissed left-handed batters over 229 times in the longest format.
“There are four left-handed batters in this Australian side, and he has traditionally done well against them. It is shocking that there isn’t any off-spinner in this side,” Gavaskar added. In the absence of Ashwin, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja operated as the sole spinner and went wicketless on Day 1 of the WTC final at The Oval. Sensational knocks from Smith (95*) and Travis Head (146*) have propelled Australia to 327-3 in 85 overs.