“No other top-class Indian cricketer has been treated as bafflingly as him…” Sunil Gavaskar Criticized Skipper Rohit And Head Coach Rahul Dravid

India’s devastating 209-run defeat in the World Test Championship final against Australia has sparked intense debates and raised numerous questions about the team’s decisions. One of the most perplexing choices was the omission of Ravichandran Ashwin, the No.1-ranked Test bowler, from India’s Playing XI.

As hindsight analysis continues, cricketing legends and experts, including Sunil Gavaskar, are expressing their bewilderment at the exclusion of a bowler of Ashwin’s caliber. Gavaskar’s criticism extends beyond the current captaincy duo of Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid, encompassing their predecessors, Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri.

With over 470 Test wickets, Ravichandran Ashwin is widely regarded as the best spinner in the world. His exceptional skills, combined with his success against left-handed batsmen, made his absence all the more confounding, given that Australia had five left-handers in their lineup. Ashwin’s exclusion defied logic, especially when compared to Ravindra Jadeja, as even the great Sachin Tendulkar acknowledged. Sunil Gavaskar shares this sentiment, emphasizing that Ashwin’s class sets him miles apart from other spinners.

“India dropped Ravichandran Ashwin, the No. 1 ranked bowler in the game, according to the ICC rankings. The Australians had five left-handers in the team, and while one leftie – Travis Head – scored a quickfire century in the first innings, another southpaw, Alex Carey, got a 48 in the first innings and an unbeaten 66 in the second. During that second innings effort, he also put on 93 runs with another left-hander Mitchell Starc when India was looking to dismiss Australia cheaply in the second innings,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Mid-Day.

“If Ashwin had been in the team, who knows what could have happened? With the bat, too, he could have contributed. No other top-class Indian cricketer in the modern era has been treated as bafflingly as Ashwin has been. Tell me, if there was a No. 1 ICC-ranked batter in the team, would he have been left out of the playing XI just because, in earlier times, he had not got runs on a grassy pitch or if he had not scored runs on a dry spin-friendly pitch? Definitely not.”

Sunil Gavaskar has been vocal in his criticism of the decision to drop Ashwin, criticizing the current captaincy duo and their predecessors. Gavaskar highlights the significance of Ashwin’s absence during crucial moments in the match, where left-handed batsmen, such as Travis Head and Alex Carey, flourished. He questions what could have unfolded had Ashwin been included in the team, pointing out his potential contributions with both bat and ball. Gavaskar also highlights the inconsistency in Ashwin’s selection, particularly in matches played in England.

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Gavaskar observes a pattern in Ashwin’s treatment over the years, suggesting that he is not always the first-choice spinner, despite his status as the top-ranked bowler. He notes instances where right-handed batsmen or other factors influenced the decision to opt for a left-handed spinner instead of Ashwin. Gavaskar argues that such reasoning limits Ashwin’s opportunities and questions the thought process behind it. He believes this pattern has hindered Ashwin from playing more than 100 Test matches.

“In Ashwin’s case, despite being the No.1 bowler, he is not always the first spinner to be brought on. Oh yes, there are reasons given that there were right-handers at the crease, so a left-handed spinner was given the ball, or the wind was blowing in a certain direction, or the bowler’s follow-through footmarks were for the left-handed spinner, etc. as if Ashwin has only left-handed batters as his wickets,” Gavaskar added.

Gavaskar highlights the missed opportunity to utilize Ashwin’s skills on a pitch that eased out considerably on the fourth day of the match. The experienced Indian batsmen at the crease, including Ashwin, could have resulted in a gripping finish to the match. Gavaskar argues that dropping Ashwin was not the right call, particularly given India’s challenging target of 444 runs.

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