'You're saying Ashwin is a world-class bowler but...': Paras Mhambrey defends controversial call for 'team's benefit'

Jun 08, 2023 02:51 PM IST

Once the conditions at the Oval forced India to think otherwise, it was probably the right time for Mhambrey to answer the burning Ashwin question to the media.

As the cricketing world tries to wrap its head around the omission of Ravichandran Ashwin from India's Playing XI against Australia in the World Test Championship final, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey has explained in detail what led to the World No. 1-ranked bowler's snub from the line-up that took the field at The Oval on Wednesday. Ashwin's absence was felt dearly as Australia steamrolled India to put up 327/3 on the board with Travis Head hitting a 6th Test century and Steve Smith closing in on his 31st. After the first two hours of play, the pitch eased up for batting, and that's where it felt that perhaps leaving Ashwin out was a missed opportunity for India.

Will India regret dropping Ravichandran Ashwin for WTC final?(PTI)
Will India regret dropping Ravichandran Ashwin for WTC final?(PTI)

Almost every noted former cricketer – from Sunil Gavaskar to Ricky Ponting – lamented the Ashwin axe, so expectedly, the Indian team management sent out their bowling coach to lay out the thought process and the planning to go in with four pacers. India captain Rohit Sharma had earlier, during the toss shed some light on the decision by saying that Ashwin was left out due to conditions, but once those same conditions forced India to think otherwise, it was probably the right time for Mhambrey to answer the burning question.

"See, it's always a very difficult decision to drop a champion bowler like that. But I thought looking at the conditions in the morning, I thought having the additional seamer would definitely be beneficial. And it also has worked in the past. If you look at the earlier games that we played, the last Test match, we went in four seamers, which really did well. The seamers have done well out here for us. But you can always look at the hindsight, saying additional spinner would have been a different. But looking at the conditions in the morning, I thought additional seamer would definitely be unequipped," he said during the press conference.

Also Read - 'Rohit allowed Australia easy runs…': Ganguly hammers India captain's decision after horrendous Day 1 in WTC Final

What's more baffling is the fact that it has now been six Tests in a row that Ashwin hasn't featured in India's Playing XI in a Test match in England. The last time it happened was in the final of the first-ever WTC final in 2021 where Ashwin had picked 2/28 and 2/17 in the two innings. He then was left out of the team in all five Tests which India played in England – the series that ended 2-2. The temptation to play Jadeja – a much better Test batter than Ashwin – is luring, but just how much of a sense it makes to leave out the World's No.1-ranked bowler?

'Ashwin is a world class bowler, but…'

"I think when you discuss with the team, not only on the first day, but you know the conditions for quite some time. We have been practicing for 3-4 days. We are looking at the wicket, how it is. I think that conversation happens with the player. Obviously, we have to be honest about our strategies. It is important that the player is very important. But your combination is also important," added Mhambrey.

"So, you discuss which combination should be played on the wicket. Yes, you are saying that he is a world-class bowler. Definitely, no doubt about it. But I think when we have a conversation, the player also understands that if a decision is taken, it is taken for the team's benefit. Looking at the combination in terms of the wicket. But I think it will happen. Somewhere after the game, you realize that you could have played with two spinners. That will happen. But I think the conversation is honest. And the player understands that if a decision is taken, then why that decision has been taken."

Catch all the Latest World Cup news and Live score along with India vs Australia Live Score and Asian Games 2023 related updates on Hindustan Times Website and APPs

    At HT Sports Desk, passionate reporters work round the clock to provide detailed updates from the world of sports. Expect nuanced match reports, previews,reviews, technical analysis based on statistics, the latest social media trends, expert opinions on cricket, football, tennis, badminton, hockey,motorsports, wrestling, boxing, shooting, athletics and much more.

Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals