"Who will they blame this time?" - Virat Kohli fans show support for former skipper after Ravichandran Ashwin is not picked for 5th IND vs ENG Test

Ravichandran Ashwin didn't feature in even a single Test this series. (P.C::BCCI)
Ravichandran Ashwin didn't feature in even a single Test this series. (P.C::BCCI)
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Anuj Nitin Prabhu

Veteran Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was once again benched in England, this time in the fifth Test at Edgbaston that got underway on July 1. The visitors preferred to go in with their trusted combination of three pacers and two all-rounders in Shardul Thakur and Ravindra Jadeja.

The pitch at Edgbaston has historically supported spinners and Ashwin picked up seven wickets the last time he played there in 2018. Also, looking at the pitches that were dished out against New Zealand, it seemed like India would play both their spin-twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

However, due to the overcast weather and the forecast of rain, India perhaps felt that having an extra seamer in Thakur would give them a better balance.

The decision did not go down well with some fans. Ashwin is arguably one of the best spinners in the world at the moment and some Twitter users were disappointed he was not playing.

Other took this opportunity to take a dig at those who had earlier blamed former captain Virat Kohli and former coach Ravi Shastri for 'purposely' leaving out Ravichandran Ashwin. Here are some of the reactions:

Btw where's the shame Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli, for not playing Ravi Ashwin??? Ehhh.Oh sorry... No Kohli-Shastri in power, no blame games. 🙈
And drops Ashwin too.
I feel for R. Ashwin. World’s best spinner at the moment had to sit out for all 5 games.#INDvsENG
People who blamed Virat for keeping Ashwin out of overseas tests, who will they blame this time?
@BCCI No Ashwin! Advantage England.
@BCCI No Ashwin no match. Not selected in odi not in t20 what is going on
Big news from Edgbaston. No Ashwin.People blamed Kohli for not playing him last year. Fact is, It’s not about the captain or the coach or their personal liking, it’s all about conditions. Feel bad for Ashwin. But it’s what it is. Horses for courses. #ENGvsIND
There were arguments of Ashwin being the C, no? "Ultimate analysis" mein Bumrah finalise hua tha 😂
Jadeja ahead of Ashwin & this what balanced the XI.!Hope those who were reporting those ego problem between Ashwin & Kohli will understand it.!
No Ashwin again makes this game 20% less interesting
I'm actually more surprised this time that Ashwin is not in the XI. Last year, you knew why he couldn't get a chance. This year, given how the pitch looks, thought he would make the XI at Edgbaston.
India have stuck to the 4 pacers, 1 spinner template, right through the series now. Shardul could have edged Ashwin on a bit of cloudy forecast for the first three days. #ENGvIND
Bhayankar fati padi hai, khatarnak XI! So not used to watch the important names missing. Iyer gets a chance in England should do well and no Ashwin, should not backfire!
Wonder what Suresh Menons and Mukul Kesavans think about Ashwin getting dropped by the impeccable Rahul Dravid..
No Ashwin. Again. lol.
Slightly disappointing to see Ashwin left out once again.
Hope propagradists will now understand that was not some ego issue of Virat Kohli for which he didn't select Ashwin in the XI during last series. It was based on sound Cricketing logic, which is now being used as a template even by Rahul Dravid himself.
Ashwin is eligible for USA, no? Just asking.
Expected lines, the selection. Nothing much to complain - seems like the overcast conditions have tipped the scales in Shardul's favor ahead of Ashwin. Could be a bad toss to lose though given how overcast it is #ENGvIND

Is not playing Ravichandran Ashwin a gamble?

India's current bowling attack is what has given them success in this series so far and is one of the main reasons why they are leading 2-1. But the England team that played last year was a lot different to what it is now.

The batting line-up overly depended on former captain Joe Root and were vulnerable in their own conditions. Since Ben Stokes took over as captain and Brendon McCullum as coach, the mindset of the team has completely changed.

The likes of Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow have begun to play their natural game and attack the opposition bowlers. In such a situation, Ashwin could have been handy with his tricks and sharp mind. Only time will tell whether the visitors will miss the veteran off-spinner.

India XI: Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah (c).

England XI: Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Sam Billings (wk), Matty Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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