Former India captain Sachin Tendulkar was disappointed at Team India’s loss against Australia by 209 runs in the ICC World Test Championship final at the Oval in London on Sunday, June 11.
Tendulkar said that the think tank leaving out World No.1 Test bowler Ravichandran Ashwin surprised him the most. The 50-year-old pointed out that the off-spinner would have been handy since the Aussies played five quality left-handers.
Interestingly, left-handers Travis Head (163) and Alex Carey (66*) were the top scorers for Australia in the one-off Test.
“I fail to understand the exclusion of @ashwinravi99 in the playing XI, who is currently the number one Test bowler in the world. Like I had mentioned before the match, skillful spinners don’t always rely on turning tracks, they use drift in the air and bounce off the surface to disguise their variations."
The legendary batter continued
"Not to forget, Australia had 5 left-handers out of their top 8 batters.”
Ashwin is the first cricketer to dismiss 200+ left-handers in Test cricket. The 36-year-old was the joint Player of the Series in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy, where he picked up 25 wickets in the four-Test series. In England, he had picked 18 wickets in seven Tests.
The all-rounder is equally handy as lower order batter with five tons in Test cricket. Thus, the decision raised several eyebrows.
On the decision to omit Ashwin from the team, India captain Rohit Sharma said before the toss:
“The conditions and also the weather being overcast. The pitch won't change too much. It's always tough (to leave Ashwin), he's been a match-winner.”
“India had to bat big in the first innings” – Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar added that India’s also failed to post a decent score in their first innings, which was one of the reasons behind their loss. He wrote on Twitter:
“India had to bat big in the first innings to stay in the game, but they couldn’t.”
After Australia scored 469 in their first innings, India responded with 296, courtesy of Ajinkya Rahane's 89. This saw the Aussies take a first innings lead of 173 runs.
Rohit Sharma and Co., though, bounced back to reduce the Aussies to 170/8 in their second innings. However, Australia had stretched their lead to 444 to gain a slight edge in the contest. Team India was eventually bundled out for 234, which saw them lose back-to-back WTC finals.
Click here to check out the WTC 2023 final full scorecard.