Ravindra Jadeja (above) played ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin in the first three Tests in England © Getty Images
By Kushan Sarkar
New Delhi: Aug 1, 2014
Legendary off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna questioned India‘s logic behind ignoring Ravichandran Ashwin and termed team management’s move to play Ravindra Jadeja as a strike bowler a “disastrous” one.
“Ravindra Jadeja should play in all Tests but only as a stock bowler. He is not a wicket-taker. Jadeja’s capability as a spinner doesn’t make him a strike bowler. Now if the team management forces a stock bowler to become a strike bowler, then disaster is waiting to happen,” Prasanna said.
“Ashwin should have played in all three Test matches.
From my experience of playing in England, I can tell you that even if Ashwin plays at Old Trafford, he will come good at Oval, which can assist spinners. Jadeja should be used as a supporting option with Ashwin in lead role,” the 74-year-old, who has 189 Test victims from 49 Tests, feels.
Jadeja has so far taken only 8 wickets bowling 142.3 overs in three Test matches with a strike-rate of close to 18 overs for a wicket.
“Doesn’t the figures say it all. If a bowler needs more than 100 balls to get a wicket means that a batsmen is getting well settled by that time.
“Have you seen Jadeja beat the bat of any leading batsmen consistently unless there is some turn and bite on offer from the 22 yards? If not then how can you solely depend on Jadeja?” questions former great, who has often been dubbed as best off-spinner of his generation by former Australian captain Ian Chappell.
Asked what he thinks can be the reason for Ashwin’s exclusion from the playing XI, Prasanna said,”I don’t know what are the considerations while selecting a playing XI. But this shows lack of faith. You must have faith in Ashwin for him to deliver.
“If Ashwin has reached 100 wickets in quickest time, there must be some reason behind it. Look at England. They showed faith in that young boy Moeen and he has delivered.”
But Prasanna is of the opinion that India should play two spinners irrespective of the conditions as that is our strength.
“If we compare our seamers with that of England, they certainly have a more potent attack than ours. Both Stuart Broad and James Anderson can consistently bowl close to 140 kmph and use the short ball sparingly. If you can swing the ball at that pace, it’s not easy to remove the bat as batsmen have a propensity to hang their bats,” he said.
“Our bowlers are bowling mainly in early 130 kmps and the batsmen are finding enough time to remove their bats. Also matches are won by performance of bowlers between overs 30 and 60. Have our seamers done well with the semi-new ball? If we won at Lord’s was because Ishant bowled those bouncers. It was not some great exhibition of seam and swing bowling,” he explained.
“Look even at Lord’s, the pitch flattened out considerably after the first day. Therefore the logic of not using a finger spinner doesn’t work.”
Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014