R Ashwin finds himself more sidelined than someone with his record should be: Sunil Gavaskar
India vs South Africa, 1st Test: R Ashwin picked up 2 wickets in the final hour of the second day ( Courtesy by BCCI)
- Sunil Gavaskar said R Ashwin deserves to be a regular starter for India in Tests
- Ashwin returned to the Test XI after nearly an year's absence
- Somebody who has got almost 350 wickets can’t be sidelined: Gavaskar
Former India captain and batting great Sunil Gavaskar has hit out at the Indian team management for not providing the confidence a successful bowler like R Ashwin deserves in international cricket.
Sunil Gavaskar said R Ashwin has been sidelined more often than a bowler with his record should be, while pointing out he is one of India's most successful spinners in the recent past.
India vs South Africa, 1st Test Day 3: Live Updates
R Ashwin returned to the Test XI after nearly an year's time out of the set-up. Ashwin found himself out of the Test XI due to niggles after just one Test in Australia and the star off-spinner was not included in the side for the 2-Test series in West Indies. Despite having been picked in the squad, India went in with Ravindra Jadeja as their only spinner in the Caribbean.
R Ashwin though made an immediate impact on return to the Test XI by picking up 2 wickets towards the close of play on Day 2 of the ongoing 1st Test against South Africa in Visakhapatnam. Ashwin showed signs of his vintage self by getting the wicket of South Africa opener Aiden Markram with a beauty that had flight, dip and turn.
However, Ashwin struggled to provide India with a breakthrough in the morning session when Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis were resisting the Indian charge with sensisble batsmanship against spin.
"Ashwin should be a certainty. The fact that he has not been made to feel the comfort level is the reason why we are seeing him struggle a little bit," Gavaskar told Star Sports during lunch on Day 3.
"He has also got to feel he has got the confidence of the people around him. When you don’t have the confidence of people around you, when you keep getting sidelined, then you try a little too hard.
"I think, there is always these little comparisons he suffers from. When playing in Australia, he is compared to Nathan Lyon. Nathan Lyon is doing that doing this. But Lyon is bowling to the Indian batsmen. Similarly, in England, when Moeen Ali got 6 or 7 wickets, you say he didn’t get any wickets’. It can happen.
"I think there is more to it than just cricketing performances which is the reason he just finds himself sidelined more often than somebody with his record should be. Somebody who has got almost 350 wickets can’t be sidelined as regularly as he has been."
While hinting India could have afforded to play Ashwin in place of an extra batsman in West Indies, Sunil Gavaskar suggested India don't need 6 regular batsman at home in the ongoing series against South Africa.
"If it’s going to be hot conditions like this, you need an extra bowler. Whether it’s a spinner or seamer, it depends on the surface. I think India can afford to play 5 batsmen and with Ashwin who has 4 Test hundreds and Jadeja who is batting well with due respect to this South African attack," Gavaskar said.
India got an early breakthrough on Day 3 when Ishant Sharma got the wicket of Temba Bavuma but Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis combined to stitch a hundred-plus stand to put some pressure on India for the first time in the ongoing Test.