Senior Indian official explains Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja's prolonged exclusion from white-ball cricket
What's the story?
A senior official, who is involved in the selection process for the Indian team, has shed light into the prolonged exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in white-ball cricket. On the condition of anonymity, the top official clarified that the senior spin duo was not rested or dropped but left out of the ODI and T20I sides as part of the management's rotation policy.
"We all respect what Ashwin and Jadeja have accomplished so far. But, we need to look at the future and are seeking more variety in the attack. The two wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were picked because they are different. Both are talented and have done extremely well so far. They bring a lot to the attack," the top official told Sportstar.
He added, "We won the ODI series against Sri Lanka 5-0 and then defeated Australia 4-1 in the one-dayers. Kuldeep and Chahal, particularly against Australia, played a big part. It would be very unfair on our part to drop them at this stage. It would hurt their confidence. We are in the process of finding the best possible team for the 2019 World Cup. We are shuffling our players (and) infusing fresh blood."
Following their below-par showing in the 2017 Champions Trophy final against Pakistan, both Ashwin and Jadeja began to attract immense criticism over their inability to provide breakthroughs in the limited-overs formats. After the conclusion of the West Indies tour, the experienced spinners fell out of favour with the Indian selectors in ODIs as well as T20Is.
The heart of the matter
With the pitches becoming flatter and the boundaries getting shorter, finger spinners are becoming increasingly obsolete in the modern-day limited-overs arena. Taking a cue from most other teams in the circuit, India also began to rely on wrist-spin in order to add a different dimension to their bowling attack.
The likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have adapted brilliantly to the pace of present-day white-ball cricket. Their consistent performances during the Sri Lanka tour as well as in the home series against Australia have pushed Ashwin and Jadeja out of the limited-overs teams. With the Indian selectors deciding to back the two young wrist-spinners on a regular basis, the senior duo has not been able to return to the ODI and T20I set-up. Accurate left-armer Axar Patel is currently the third spinner in India's limited-overs squad for the ongoing home series against New Zealand.
Having received an extended break from the national team due to a multitude of reasons, Ashwin and Jadeja will be raring to go when the action shifts to the premier format of the game. The three-Test series between India and Sri Lanka is slated to begin at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata from November 16.
Despite the MSK Prasad-led selection panel repeatedly insisting that the two seasoned spinners have been rested from ODIs and T20Is, it is quite apparent that Ashwin and Jadeja have been axed from the limited-overs teams due to their inadequate form in recent times. Even though they might be pigeon-holed as Test specialists, their exclusion from the white-ball formats will help the experienced duo channel their energy solely on the longest format.