Indian fans were really expecting Ravichandran Ashwin to make the cut for the fourth Test at Oval. But, no, Kohli and the team management had other ideas. With series level at 1-1, India didn’t want wholesale changes. They did bring two bowlers in Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav, but they were seamers. As far as the lone spinner in the team was concerned, it was Ravindra Jadeja not Ashwin.
A number of fans—high profile fans like Shashi Tharoor-couldn’t make much of it and criticised the team’s decision on Twitter.
I can’t believe they left out Ashwin again, on England’s most spin-friendly ground. This team is unbelievable. You pick your five best bowlers, @ashwinravi99 has to be the first or second name. Omitting him & @MdShami11 at the Oval is like a death-wish — as if you want to lose!— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 2, 2021
And I doubt if any other Indian captain or anyone in the world would have benched Ashwin for four-straight Tests when the other spinner is not getting wickets. They would have swapped a batsman and made Ashwin play.— Venkata Krishna B (@venkatatweets) September 2, 2021
I’m going to stick my neck out and say that I may not agree with @imVkohli & the management’s chosen XI, but I admire their courage & conviction.The media and fans would have been far easier on them if they had picked Ashwin, regardless of the match result.— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) September 2, 2021
Earlier India’s bowling coach Bharath Arun said that English batsmen are “wary of Ravichandran Ashwin’s abilities" on tracks with “assistance" but a call on the senior off-spinner’s inclusion will only be taken on Thursday morning ahead of the fourth Test.Ashwin, world’s best off-spinner, has been benched for three consecutive Test matches with Ravindra Jadeja being played as a “batting all-rounder".
The non selection of @ashwinravi99 has to be greatest NON selection we have ever witnessed across 4 Tests in the UK !!! 413 Test wickets & 5 Test 100s !!!! #ENGvIND Madness …— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) September 2, 2021
Ravichandran Ashwin is still not in the Playing XI as India persist with Jadeja, plus 4 seamers - Bumrah, Siraj, Shardul and Umesh. Don’t yet understand why @ashwinravi99 still can’t make the cut #INDvsEND #Oval— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) September 2, 2021
I really hope it works but I am flabbergasted that India have gone in without Ashwin again.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 2, 2021
Surprising to see no @ashwinravi99 in India's XI, I believe there's ample room to play both spinners and 3 specialist quicks. @root66 will line this attack up once again! #ENGvIND— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) September 2, 2021
“Ashwin, no doubt, is one of the best bowlers we have and its unfortunate that he has not played so far but if there is an opportunity and if we feel that he is going to fit into the scheme of things, they will definitely both be bowling in tandem," Arun said when asked if both the spinners can fit into the playing XI at Oval which aids spin bowling.