“There are five left-handed batsmen…” Sunil Gavaskar Criticised Indian Team On Omission Of Ashwin From WTC Final

The ongoing World Test Championship final between India and Australia has generated significant controversy, with India’s surprising decision to exclude their premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing XI. The move has sparked criticism from former cricketers and pundits, questioning the logic of leaving out the world’s number-one Test bowler in such a crucial match. With Australia fielding five left-handed batters, the absence of an off-spinner in the Indian team has raised concerns about the strategic choices made by captain Rohit Sharma and the team management.

Renowned cricketer Sunil Gavaskar expressed his disappointment during the live commentary, highlighting the absence of an off-spinner to counter the left-handed Australian batters. He argued that considering the presence of David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Alex Carey, and Mitchell Starc, it was baffling not to have an off-spinner in the lineup. Gavaskar’s sentiments were echoed by former cricketer Harbhajan Singh, who criticized the decision.

He said, “There are five left-handed batsmen in the Australian team. These include David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Alex Carey, and Mitchell Starc. Despite this, there is no off-spinner in your team? Why is it like this? This decision is incomprehensible.”

The criticism extended beyond the commentary box, as several former cricketers used social media to express their displeasure. Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, part of the commentary panel, questioned the team’s decision and stressed the necessity of playing bowlers of Ashwin’s calibre, irrespective of the pitch conditions.

Ganguly, part of the commentary panel for the final, said, “I do not believe in thinking what will happen later. As a captain, you make decisions before the toss, and India decided to go with four fast bowlers. If you have bowlers like Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, and Anil Kumble in the team, no matter what the condition, it is necessary to feed them.”

In the match, India won the toss and chose to bowl first. This decision further intensified the scrutiny of the exclusion of Ashwin. The Indian team, having reached the World Test Championship final for the second consecutive time, was keen to claim victory after defeating New Zealand in the inaugural edition of the championship.

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Early on, India showed promise by dismissing Australia’s top-order batters, reducing them to 76 for 3. Mohammad Siraj claimed the wicket of Usman Khawaja, caught by wicketkeeper Bharat, while Shardul Thakur accounted for the dismissal of David Warner, who managed to score 43 runs. On the other hand, Mohammed Shami delivered a crucial blow by clean bowling Marnus Labuschagne for 26 runs.

However, during the partnership between Steve Smith and Travis Head, India keenly felt the absence of Ashwin. The duo combined for an unbeaten partnership of 251 runs, frustrating the Indian bowlers and preventing further breakthroughs. Head displayed exceptional batting prowess, remaining unbeaten on 146, while Smith was nearing a century with an unbeaten 95. This remarkable partnership further fueled the debate surrounding India’s decision to exclude Ashwin from the playing XI.

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