To discuss whether R Ashwin will be in playing XI or not is 'sad': Anil Kumble
It was the first Test of the year for Ravichandran Ashwin as the spinner was named in India's playing XI alongside Ravindra Jadeja for the opening match of the series against South Africa in Vizag. The situation for Ashwin, who is considered as the best Indian spinner by many at present, hasn't been apt, with Jadeja being preferred over him when it comes to playing just one spinner. After Ashwin bagged a total of 8 wickets in the first Test against the Proteas, former Indian cricketer Anil Kumble admitted that the situation surrounding Ashwin's place in the team is rather 'sad'.
A 7-wicket-haul in the first innings and a solitary wicket in the second saw Ashwin taking the match ball after the Test concluded with India emerging as the winners by 203 runs. In the process, Ashwin also became the joint-fastest bowler to take 350 Test wickets, alongside Muttiah Muralitharan. Seeing the man who has smashed so many records for the Indian team with his consistency, Kumble said that it isn't right that the Tamil Nadu off-spinner's place in the team is a point of discussion ahead of the start of a Test series.
"You don’t want your premier spinner to be discussed before a Test series or a Test match, thinking about whether he’ll make it to the team," Kumble was quoted as saying. "I think it’s sad but he’s showed his class. He’s the fastest to 350 Test wickets, it’s something amazing. You know, I think Ashwin, not just as a bowler but as an all-rounder, is an asset to the team. Him and Ravindra Jadeja will give you enough armoury with the spin and can also give you solid batting performances consistently, and they’ve done that in the lower-middle order for India.”
The legendary leg-spinner also opined that India, at present, do not need to look beyond Ashwin and Jadeja as far as the spin-bowling composition is concerned in the longest format of the game.
"So, I don’t see a reason why anyone needs to go beyond these two spinners unless there’s something else that you want to look for, or if one of them is not fully fit. If you’re considering a third spinner, then yes, Kuldeep is of course a genuine spinner, and you’d want a wrist spinner to be in your team. But having said that, Ashwin is your premier spinner and I’m certainly happy with what he’s done because you can’t stop people from discussing. But, now hopefully he would have shut them up. He’s a class act," he added.