India must pick the world’s best spinner, each time

Updated on Aug 29, 2021 08:06 PM IST

India must pick R Ashwin — as long as he is fit. He has been repeatedly told he is not good enough to make the team.

There’s simply no other spinner in the world currently as good as Ashwin (AP) PREMIUM
There’s simply no other spinner in the world currently as good as Ashwin (AP)
ByHT Editorial

The Indian men’s cricket team is fortunate to have a man who is, arguably, one of the world’s best batsmen and another who is, definitely, the world’s best spinner. The first is out of form in conditions where he has struggled in the past, and the second has sat out the first three games because the conditions, we have been told, are unfavourable. If the logic applied to the non-selection of the second is applied across the team, some others, including the first, would be unlikely to be selected. Yet, cricket has always treated bowlers and batters differently.

There is a simple rule in any team sport. If there’s someone who is best in the world, pick them. Apologists for the Indian cricket establishment have sought to paper over the cracks in selection by pointing to successes. The team’s performance in Australia, where they won a series, is one such — never mind that the world’s best spinner had a role to play in it, the captain did not play much, and some of the wins were a result of old-fashioned scrapping, not dominance. There is nothing wrong with scrapping — it shows character — but it doesn’t always work.

India must pick R Ashwin — as long as he is fit. He has been repeatedly told he is not good enough to make the team. This to a man who has more wickets than three of the five Indian bowlers who played the third test taken together. India is lucky to have him. Just as it is to have Virat Kohli. There is a bunch of batsmen that, on current form, is the world’s best (Kohli is missing from the grouping, hopefully temporarily); there’s simply no other spinner in the world currently as good as Ashwin.

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