Nottingham, Aug 4 (IANS) Indian team captain Virat Kohli’s call to pick pace bowler Shardul Thakur ahead of off-spinner R Ashwin in the first Test against England has revealed team management’s lack of confidence in their batting.
India, who decided to field a four-pronged pace attack, have picked just one spinner in Ravindra Jadeja and benched R Ashwin, who had only recently picked 6/27 in a county game last month and also got four wickets for 45 runs (2/28 & 2/17) across two innings in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton in June.
The decision to include Thakur ahead of Ashwin has flummoxed many former players, some of who felt that even if Thakur were to be included, Ashwin should have been picked ahead of Jadeja.
“You don’t have to be a genius to have an opinion on that. Once you go past 6, your job is to pick wickets and bowl,” said former India captain Ajay Jadeja on air as he felt batting cannot be strengthened at the cost of dropping your No. 1 bowler.
He added that even if India were insistent on playing just one spinner and include Thakur as the fourth seamer, the choice of spinner should have been Ashwin.
“He (Ashwin) is the No. 1 spinner. When you are playing one spinner, you pick your No. 1 spinner. He has also scored some runs. He is no mug with the bat,” added Jadeja.
“Spinners will come into play a lot more. That is why R Ashwin could have been handy,” he said further.
Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar too expressed surprise but reasoned that Jadeja was picked ahead of Ashwin due to lack of batting depth.
“Interesting call — choice of Jadeja over Ashwin. [It is because] they haven’t played Vihari and got Pant at No. 6, aware of [lack of] batting depth,” said Manjrekar on air.
India’s top-order batting has been a worry overseas, especially in England as was evident from the way they capitulated on the reserve day during the World Test Championship final against New Zealand.