India vs West Indies, India vs West Indies 2019, India, West Indies, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Shastri
Shastri admitted that it was a difficult decision to leave out a “world-class” bowler like Ashwin, but pointed out various attributes that gave Jadeja the edge.

One of the debates that has taken centrestage during the India-West Indies Test series was the omission of Ravichandran Ashwin and chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav. Instead, India decided to pick Ravindra Jadeja as their lone spinner for the two-Tests. Head coach Ravi Shastri admitted that it was a difficult decision to leave out a “world-class” bowler like Ashwin on the bench, but pointed out various attributes that gave Jadeja the edge over the two.

“The reason why we picked Jadeja in the first Test, was in case we fielded, and the track was damp, with his pace, he would have made life a little awkward for the batsmen. He could have been used on the first session of play on day one,” Shastri told the host broadcaster before the start of second day’s play in Jamaica.

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Incidentally, Ashwin has had a fabulous record against West Indies. In 11 Tests against them, he has 60 wickets. The last time he played there (2016-17), he was the Man of the Series with 17 wickets in three games, and 350 runs. The Tamil Nadu tweaker was given a chance over Jadeja again at Adelaide but due to his fitness, the Saurashtra allrounder returned back at Melbourne and Sydney.

“It is a difficult decision to leave out Ashwin or Kuldeep (Yadav),” Shastri explained.

“Look at ‘Jaddu’, his record is fabulous. You have to see what he brings to the table. He is probably best fielder in the world now and he has improved his batting like hell. And if you see these tracks (in West Indies)… from what I have seen of this track (in Jamaica), I don’t think there would be much on offer for the spinners where you would need control.”

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Meanwhile, India’s fast-bowling combination of Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami has been a vital part of their success overseas and Shastri said having bowlers capable of taking 20 wickets in any conditions is the aim which reduces the gap between home and away Tests.

“Bharat Arun has seen a lot of these guys from a very young age,” he said.

“Our endeavour was to get a really good bowling attack in place that could take us 20 wickets anywhere. Once you have a good bowling attack that can take 20 wickets anywhere, then no game is an away game. Every game is a home game. It doesn’t matter what the pitch is, you have the ammunition.

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“These three fast bowlers complement each other beautifully. One’s tall (Ishant), Bumrah has the most awkward action yet gets the ball to swing both ways, and Shami is someone who presents the seam better than most. The only other guy I know who presents the seam in that fashion is Jimmy Anderson. You’ve got variety there, plus you’ve got spin – you’ve got Kuldeep, Ash, Jadeja, and there are two or three more in the ranks, which is good.”