Ravichandran Ashwin's Absence In The 1st Test Was Felt: VVS Laxman
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Ravichandran Ashwin’s Absence In The 1st Test Was Felt: VVS Laxman

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ravichandran Ashwin has scalped 413 wickets in the 79 Tests he has played for India, at an excellent average of 24.56. The off-spinner was the second-highest wicket-taker for India and fourth overall, in the four-match Test series in Australia in 2020/21.

He claimed 12 wickets in 3 Tests, including one four-wicket haul. In the four-match home series against England 2021, he was the highest wicket-taker. He signed off the series with 32 scalps in 4 Tests, including 3 five-wicket hauls. Ravindra Jadeja’s current batting form helped him get a spot in the playing XI ahead of his spin partner, the 34-year-old off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, as felt by many experts.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: AP

Ravichandran Ashwin’s Absence In The 1st Test Was Felt As He Could Have Created More Chances On The Flat Wicket: VVS Laxman

India’s line-up for the first Test against England caused instant debate with the exclusion of India’s ace spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin.  While in hindsight it might seem like the decision worked out as planned for the visitors, the absence of a match-winner like Ravichandran Ashwin could be felt at certain stages.

With Joe Root in full flow en route his ton in the 2nd innings with some support from his compatriots, mainly in a solid stand with Dom Sibley, India looked a bit out of sorts and clueless in the middle overs.

VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman

With England’s troubles against spin bowling, India’s ace Ravichandran Ashwin could have provided vital timely breakthroughs on a day when the sun was beating down at Trent Bridge. On ESPN’s Cricinfo show Matchday Live, VVS Laxman was vocal about backing Ravichandran Ashwin’s skills against this England line-up, despite the weather conditions.

“Coming back to Ashwin’s selection, I just feel like going forward, even though there is forecast for rain, I would always back a match-winner like Ashwin to create an impression and to be inventive, provide some penetration and to be amongst wickets.

“What India require is four attacking, wicket-taking bowling options, and then Jadeja can be your fifth bowling option, who can restrict the flow of runs,” said Laxman.

“As the match progressed, we could see the wicket became flat and there was a little bit of turn for Jadeja. If Ashwin would have been there, he would have created more chances and it would have been a different story in the middle overs.”

Indian team suffered an 8 wicket defeat in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand last month. Ravichandran Ashwin, though, was the tournament’s highest wicket-taker with 71 wickets from 14 Tests at 20.33. India’s Test series against England started at Trent Bridge on August 4, but he wasn’t in XI.

Ravichandran Ashwin Shines In A County Game For Surrey Against Somerset

While the Indian team was on a much-needed break in the UK before the series got underway, Ravichandran Ashwin got his preparations underway as he played a county game for Surrey.  In the match against Somerset on a dustbowl of a surface at The KIA Oval, Ravichandran Ashwin ran riot in the second innings to skittle Somerset out for a measly 69 and claimed figures of 6 for 27 in 15 overs.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

The fourth Test between India and England is scheduled to take place at the same venue and Ravichandran Ashwin will be eager to unleash on the England batsmen after a pleasant recent experience at the same venue.

Bowling the first over, Ravichandran Ashwin became the first spinner in 11 years to bowl the first over in a County Championship match, since August 2010. In his first over, he gave away just 2 runs as he bowled to Somerset openers, Devon Conway and Steve Davies. He also managed to pick a wicket in the match in the 40th over in the 1st innings, as he dismissed Tom Lammonby for 42.

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