India’s top spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been once again omitted from the team to play Australia in the one-day series starting Sunday.
It’s the same old story –they are being rested.
Instead Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will be heading the spin department for the first three matches, as they did, on the tour of Sri Lanka.
It is indeed surprising that India is choosing to experiment against a strong team like Australia and that too in the first three matches.
It has raised a lot of questions. But the selectors, in their usual diplomatic manner, have said they have been rested according their rotation policy. It defies logic. If Ashwin was indeed being rested, then why is he playing day in and day out in the county championship?
Both spinners will now miss eight matches in a row. What is more distressing is they will be missing games on their home soil where spinning wickets are the order of the day. Admittedly, both spinners haven’t been in good form for a while now. Ashwin though looked like getting into the groove in his last match.
The selectors have lots of questions to answer. They just cannot hide behind the “rest” thing. If they do feel that Ashwin and Jadeja are “finished” in the one-day format then they should come out and say so cleary.
These two cricketers deserve at least that much consideration. You cannot put them through the process of selection for places again.
Barring Kuldeep Yadav, the other two spinners still have a long way to go. Both Chahal and Patel did well on the Sri Lankan tour without being exceptional.
In the case of Patel, he has played before and proved to be one-dimensional in his approach.
Nobody is against giving a chance to young players. But there is a time and place for everything. The Australian challenge would probably have helped Ashwin and Jadeja regain some of their form in conditions favouring them.
The Australians always do their homework and the new crop won’t have it easy at all unlike Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan team were undergoing a bad period and had even lost to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Their batting failed completely and they were whitewashed. The new spinners must be ready to face aggressive batsmen who won’t let them settle down. This will be their big test. If they come through it then Indian cricket will be richer.
Thankfully, India’s batting line-up remains the same with many players in top gear.
This will make the series an engrossing one. The Australians too must be full of confidence after their fine victory against Bangladesh in their last Test against Bangladesh.
Australia have a lot to prove in India, particularly in spinning conditions. Bangladesh was the first trial by spin and after a disastrous start, they managed to come to terms with the conditions.
One hopes that the selectors’ gamble of resting Ashwin and Jadeja proves to be good one. Winning must never be compromised for the sake of experimentation. Consistency breeds confidence which is vital for any team.