Ravichandran Ashwin    Getty Images
Ravichandran Ashwin Getty Images

By Nikhil Bapat

Mumbai: Former pacer Ajit Agarkar says someone like Ravichandran Ashwin not making it to the Indian playing eleven in the ongoing Champions Trophy, speaks volumes about how well the bowling has been for the defending champions. “At the start of the tournament some of the batters were not in a great form, but once the tournament started all the batsmen are in good form and bowlers are doing well. All the five bowlers are in good form. A guy like Ravichandran Ashiwn not making the eleven tells you how well the bowling unit is doing,” Agarkar, who is an ‘ESPNcricinfo Match Day‘ expert panelist, told PTI in an interaction. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Sri Lanka, ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Match 8 at The Oval

India suffered defeat at the hands of a gutsy Sri Lanka, who chased down a massive 321-run target but Agarkar believes that the Virat Kohli led side are still favourites to lift the Champions Trophy. In their first game, India had hammered arch rivals Pakistan and now play South Africa on Sunday, in a virtual quarter-final. Ashiwn, a seasoned offie did not make it to the playing eleven in both the games. “They [India] are one of the favourites because of the form the players have shown,” said Agarkar, who grabbed 288 wickets 191 in ODIs.

The former speedster also strongly believes that this is the best bowling attack in recent times, which has variety. “As a combined attack, one of the best attacks we [India] had for a while. Even the ball has not swung in England, you got Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, variety is there, which helps the team always. Quite a complete attack. Not just balance, but there is variety, which makes captain’s life easier,” he added. Glenn McGrath: Pleased to see Indian pacers doing well

According to the former Mumbai pacer, form of both openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma is pleasing. “Shikar’s form is very encouraging, but Rohit who did not have much cricket in the last six months due to injury, his form is biggest plus for India, because coming into the tournament, probably he didn’t have enough runs that he would have liked but both the games [in which] he has batted, he looked comfortable,” said the former pacer.

On the India-South Africa clash, he said the game will be “tough”. “They [South Africa] are the number one side [in ODI] and had a bad game against Pakistan, so it will be a tough game. They have not won an ICC tournament before in-spite of having such a good game. It will be a tough game for India. They will have to play well. South Africa like India is a balanced team and on the day they play well, they are difficult to beat,” he added.