India vs South Africa | Sometimes Nothing is Automatic: Ravi Shastri On R Ashwin Selection
For a fair while one of the first names on the team sheet in Test cricket has been the ace off-spinner R Ashwin, who has also always looked for new ways to reinvent himself with new variations to trouble opposition batsmen. But the off-spinner is no longer the automatic choice, especially in overseas conditions, where the fast bowlers have done well as a unit.
As a result, Ashwin hasn't featured in a single Test in 2019. During the tour of Australia, he was forced to sit out in three Tests, owing to an abdominal strain. As for the series against West Indies, he didn't get a place in the playing XI.
However head coach Ravi Shastri defended the decision to bench the spinner and said it was tactical.
“Those are tactical things, which I can’t speak to you. You saw in the West Indies what happened, and now you will see the results. You can’t ask me who plays in the eleven because everyone is part of us,” Shastri told Hindustan Times.
A former spinner himself, Shastri believes that in the fight for the top spinner’s place India have more than one world class spinner.
“He (Ashwin) is world class, we got Ravindra Jadeja who is world class, we got Kuldeep Yadav who will be world class in due course, he is still young.”
The off-spinner, who has four Test hundreds to boast off, was an automatic pick for most of his 65 Tests in which he has amassed 342 wickets and bowled India to some important victories.
But the processes and policies sometimes change according to the situation according to Shastri.
“Sometimes in cricket nothing is automatic; when automatic fails you need some fuel.”