Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has launched an indirect attack at the team management, skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri following the recent 'in-and-out' phase that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been going through. Ashwin didn't make it to the playing XI in any of India's two Test matches against West Indies. Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin both got the nod as skipper Kohli opted for two spinners in the first Test against South Africa at home.
After the first session of Day 3 in Visakhapatnam concluded with Ashwin emerging as the pick of the bowlers thus far, Gavaskar said that a player of Ashwin's record should be playing on a more consistent basis for the team.
“Ashwin should be a certainty. The fact that he has not been made to feel the comfort level is the reason why we are seeing him struggle a little bit,” Gavaskar told official broadcasters on Friday. “He has also got to feel he has got the confidence of the people around him. When you don’t have the confidence of people around you, when you keep getting sidelined, then you try a little too hard.
The original Little Master was also sceptical of how Ashwin is often compared to home spinners whenever India is on overseas tours. Citing the examples of Nathan Lyon and Moeen Ali, Gavaskar asserted that Ashwin is often unfairly judged.
“I think, there is always these little comparisons he suffers from. When playing in Australia, he is compared to Nathan Lyon. He is doing that doing this. But Lyon is bowling to the Indian batsmen. Similarly, in England, when Moeen Ali got 6 or 7 wickets, you say he didn’t get any wickets’. It can happen.
While it has been a while since Ashwin has been out of the Indian limited-overs sides, Gavaskar believes that the fact that he is finding it tough to break into the Test side too, has something to do that is beyond on-field performances.
“I think there is more to it than just cricketing performances which is the reason he just finds himself sidelined more often than somebody with his record should be. Somebody who has got almost 350 wickets can’t be sidelined as regularly as he has been,” he added.