Ashwin, Jadeja ‘rest’ leaves spin greats stunned

Erapalli Prasanna, Dilip Doshi fail to understand the reason behind the Indian spin duo’s ouster from the ODI side ahead of the upcoming series against New Zealand.

India must have alternatives to Ravichandran Ashwin (left) and Ravindra Jadeja to develop a good bench strength, according to Sanjay Jagdale. Photo: K. R. Deepak   -  K. R. Deepak

On a day when Ravindra Jadeja hammered a classy 150 against Jammu and Kashmir in a Ranji Trophy match, the national selectors preferred to ‘rest’ him for the ODI series against New Zealand.

Ravichandran Ashwin — who took a wicket against Tripura in a Ranji Trophy game — too has met with a similar fate. India’s top-ranked spinner has once again been left out.

While the ‘rest’ theory is doing the rounds in the Indian team circles, India’s spin legends, however, have started smelling the rat.

Read: Shardul, Karthik return to Indian squad; no Ashwin-Jadeja

“There is something definitely wrong somewhere. I first started smelling the rotten stuff when Ashwin was allowed to play for the county in England (ahead of Australia series),” is how Erapalli Prasanna reacts to Ashwin’s ouster.

Drawing reference to India’s tour to England in 1971, after which Prasanna was dropped from the side, the spinner feels that ‘history has once again been repeated’. “History repeats itself in Indian cricket. I didn’t imagine that they (Jadeja and Ashwin) would be overlooked,” he says, adding: “We went to England in 1971, I was the highest wicket-taker at that time, and even then, I was dropped. I see the same thing happening now. A man, who is doing so much in all formats, is not picked. Even now, overseas players are uncertain about how to play Ashwin, and then, he is dropped.”

No reason to be tired

Even Dilip Doshi, another former spin exponent, couldn’t see a reason why Ashwin and Jadeja have been excluded. “I cannot understand the reason,” Doshi says from Mumbai. The yesteryear cricketer is quite surprised to see spinners being given breaks. “Now I hear spinners being tired, but they don’t bowl enough overs to be tired. I am always surprised when a bowler is rested. A bowler like Glenn McGrath could bowl 25-30 overs a day and I have never heard him talking about rest. The bowlers have to be more bowling-fit,” says Doshi.

Erapalli Prasanna..."History repeats itself in Indian cricket." Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

 

 “That’s the way to be in the game,” the former cricketer adds. Without mincing his words, he continues: “What are we talking about? These days, no one bowls for 50 overs in an innings. The only old-fashioned bowler right now is Rangana Herath. He bowls day in and day out, and the result is out in the open,” Doshi says, showing his disappointment.

While Prasanna and Doshi are baffled, former cricketer and erstwhile national selector, Sanjay Jagdale, welcomes the move. “I think this is a good move by the selectors, because the youngsters should also get opportunities. You need to look at the other options also, and you need to create a healthy competition within the team,” Jagdale, who batted for young guns during his stint as the national selector, says.

‘Variety’

“You have to have bench strength — like we have in batting and pace bowling. Kuldeep Yadav is a bowler who deserves more chance. He is a bowler who can succeed outside India, which not many have done in the past. He looks a good candidate to do well,” Jagdale, who has been a BCCI secretary in the past, points out.

While he admits that both Ashwin and Jadeja have done a lot for India, Jagdale feels there is room for improvement in foreign conditions. “If you look at Kuldeep’s age, he brings in a lot of variety. Both Ashwin and Jadeja have done a lot, but I still feel they have a lot more to do outside the continent,” Jagdale says.

The selectors’ decision to ignore the two clearly has left the cricketing fraternity divided.

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