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:
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.