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England v India

‘The greatest non-selection we have ever witnessed’ — Virat Kohli lambasted for repeated Ashwin snubs

by Sarah Waris 3 minute read

Ravichandran Ashwin continues to wait for his chance in the ongoing England-India series after he was snubbed yet again at the fourth Test at The Kia Oval. His non-inclusion has resulted in heavy backlash, with ex-players and journalists alike questioning the ‘stubbornness’ of the India management.

When Virat Kohli walked out to reveal the changes after losing yet another toss, it was expected that Ashwin, who has picked up 413 Test wickets, would finally make the XI. However, it was not to be, with Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur replacing Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami in the XI. In the last three years, Ashwin has taken 86 Test wickets at 20.62 and in his most recent first-class appearance, he took 6-39 for Surrey in a County Championship game at The Oval.

The repeated omission of Ashwin, the number two ranked Test bowler in the world, was justified by Kohli at the toss, as he stated: “England have four left-handers, which provides a good match-up for Ravindra Jadeja.”

The argument – Ashwin is more likely to threaten left-handers than Jadeja – did not sit well with the Sky Cricket commentators Nasser Hussain and Shane Warne, with the latter, in particular, pointing out Kohli’s stubborn resistance to leave out Ashwin. “Stubborn is a terrific word that Nasser used. I think it’s just stubborn. I think it’s exactly that. You don’t pick a side just for the first innings. It will turn [at The Oval], and he has five Test hundreds. So you are playing a batsman as well.”

Ajay Jadeja, commentating for Sony, was also surprised that the off-spinner did not feature in the XI. He said: “India has gone in with five bowlers, and they don’t have a spot for Ashwin among them, which is very surprising.”

His words were echoed by Michael Vaughan, who said the ‘non-selection as ‘madness’.

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