Home > News >

India vs England 3rd Test at Southampton: Ravichandran Ashwin should play, feels Saqlain Mushtaq

Ravichandran Ashwin © AFP
Ravichandran Ashwin’s last Test outing was against South Africa in the first Test at Johannesburg © AFP

By Chetan Narula

London: Jul 24, 2014

Former Pakistan spin bowling legend Saqlain Mushtaq joined the chorus for the inclusion of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the India’s playing XI against England for the third Test, starting at Southampton on Sunday.

“England had six left-handed batsmen in their eleven. Why aren’t they playing R Ashwin? Isn’t it an obvious choice if they really want to play five bowlers?,” asked Mushtaq.

“It is understandable that they didn’t want to play him at Lord’s. It was such a green-top wicket that you couldn’t differentiate between the pitch and the outfield on day one. The pitch eventually took some turn on days four and five. But nobody will play two spinners on such a track thinking that it will turn later. But why didn’t they play two spinners in the first Test at Nottingham on that flat track?” he said.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had admitted that they “read the pitch wrong” at Trent Bridge and had also said that India will continue to play five bowlers depending on pitch and conditions. He did not bowl his ‘fifth bowler’ in Stuart Binny at all in the second innings at Lord’s and after the victory when the question was put to him, Dhoni declined that two spinners were even in his frame of mind.

That might explain why Ashwin hasn’t played a single Test in the last eight months. His last Test outing was against South Africa in Johannesburg where he returned 0-108 in 42 overs (over two innings) in a drawn match.

Jadeja had come in afterwards and taken his career-best haul of 6-138 at Durban. He has since been a part of the Test playing eleven, featuring in both Tests in New Zealand and the first two on-tour here in England.

“At Lord’s they could have obviously played only one spinner, and Ravindra Jadeja was Dhoni’s choice, no doubt. It seems, he prefers Jadeja in the longer format, while Ashwin is the preferred spinner in one-day cricket. Amit Mishra is his preferred option in T20 cricket if you see recent results. Different formats have different bowlers, but then you have to consider that India want to play five bowlers,” said Mushtaq.

There have been lot of talks about English wickets drying up and the two Tests against Sri Lanka prior to this series produced such pitches. It will be a long shot that the green-top wicket seen at Lord’s will be replicated all through the remaining three Tests.

Asked how soon can India play two spinners then, Mushtaq said, “In my county cricket experience, we always played two spinners, irrespective of day one conditions. Even if seamers ruled on the first two days, the wickets will obviously dry out by days three and four. Whether the opposition has more left-handers or more right-handers, both spinners benefit.

“What helped was the fact that our lower-order batsmen were all very good. So they would add 35-40 runs easily and it helped in picking two spinners then,” the legendary spinner said. “Jadeja is an okay batsman. But Ashwin has two Test hundreds to his name. So you can play two spinners as it will be a better all-round bowling attack. I think it is an obvious call for Dhoni,” he said.

Mushtaq said England’s bowling woes will continue until they find someone to replace off-spinner Graeme Swann, who retired last year. “England are missing Graeme Swann like nobody else. In the first two Tests, it was plain obvious that James Anderson and Stuart Broad did not have enough support from the rest of the bowlers. And I am very impressed by Moeen Ali who performed that role adequately at Lord’s. But on flatter-wickets, they will struggle against Indian batsmen who can play spin well,” he said.

England have been hunting for a replacement with left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan hopping in and out of the squad, and Mushtaq agreed that it was an ongoing process.

“Of course you cannot find a replacement overnight. Australia had Shane Warne and they had also struggled to replace him. Every nation has quality spinners in domestic circles. But understanding spin and bowling spin after understanding its nuances are two different things. It takes time,” Mushtaq signed off.

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 3: Faiz Fazal dismissed by Vinay Kumar on 72

Pakistan vs Australia Live Cricket Score, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi Day 2

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Misbah ul-Haq gets most runs by a Pakistani captain in Tests

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 138/1 at Tea; Faiz Fazal unbeaten on 60

Pakistan 405/3 against Australia at lunch on Day 2 of 2nd Test

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Faiz Fazal brings up fifty; Central Zone 128/0 after 37 overs

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here