Ravichandran Ashwin © AFP (File Photo)
Ravichandran Ashwin © AFP (File Photo)

India‘s leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin suffered a minor hand injury during the three-day practice game against Essex at Chelmsford today. As a precautionary measure, he did not take field on the second day of the ongoing game.

Ashwin was hit on the right hand during a net session this morning. To avoid any further damage, Ashwin decided not to bowl, bat or field today. The Indian team management said that the physio has taken a look and deduced that it was only a minor injury. Ashwin later bowled in the nets during the lunch break today.

Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav took 2 wickets apiece and Shardul Thakur took 1 wicket as Essex were 237/5 in 58 overs at stumps. Left-arm spinner, Ravindra Jadeja bowled only two overs and went for 17 runs without taking a wicket. Earlier in the day, India got all out for 395 as 5 Indian batsmen registered half-centuries in the practice game.

Brief statistical snapshot of Ashwin’s performances against England:

Ashwin’s record against England in India:
M I O M R W BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5W/I 10W/M
9 18 544 93 1584 42 6/55 12/167 37.71 2.91 77.7 3 1
Ashwin’s record against England in England:
M I O M R W BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5W/I 10W/M
2 2 35.3 3 101 3 3/72 3/72 33.66 2.84 71 0 0

England batsmen have managed to play Ashwin reasonably well in the past. Ashwin has taken 45 wickets in 11 Tests against England at an average of 37.44. His record against England undoubtedly improved post a good series in 2016 when he took 28 wickets in 5 tests at 30.25. All his 3 fifers and the lone 10-wicket match haul against England came in this particular series. He did have a decent outing in the fifth and final test at Kennington Oval on India’s tour of England in 2014 when he took 3-72 in England’s first innings. However, India lost the match by a huge margin of an innings and 244 runs due to stellar performances by Joe Root who scored 149 and Chris Jordan who returned a match haul of 7/50.

What lies ahead:

The first Test begins in Birmingham on August 1 and it is being said that spinners are likely to play a key role this time around, considering the hot conditions, suitable for Indian bowlers. In the light of records though, it still remains to be seen how things pan out when the Test series gets underway.