Normally, a bowling average of 23 in T20 combined with good current form is decent enough to secure a fixed place for a spinner in a T20 tournament played on dusty spin-friendly wickets. But, poor Ashwin is born in the wrong era, as in spite of his stellar performances, King Kohli continuously refuses to include him in his favourite list.
India’s loss raises eyebrows over Ashwin’s exclusion
The clobbering of the Indian T20 team from the hands of Pakistan and New Zealand opened a can of worms on the captaincy of Virat Kohli. His bowling changes, shuffling of the batting order, as well as field placements, have been scrutinised by various experts. However, very few people have been able to wrap their heads around the exclusion of R Ashwin from the playing XI.
A relatively unknown Varun Chakrobarthy playing in place of R Ashwin is puzzling for many. Varun’s recent successes in IPL make him eligible for the India cap. However, it cannot be claimed that he is better than Ashwin. Ashwin started off as a T20 specialist and later graduated to being an all-format player. On a dusty wicket where the ball turns more, Ashwin’s variations could prove to be a better option for India. If the pitch is flat, Ashwin has decade-long experience of wobbling the ball in the air to beat batsmen in the flight. Moreover, Varun is a specialist bowler, while Ashwin has a few centuries to his name in the batting department too.
Nick Compton raises his voice for Ashwin
In spite of statistics, experience, variations, and all-around ability going in favour of Ashwin, Kohli did not find him fit enough to be included in India’s playing XI. However, the drama around the team’s wokeism leading to India’s loss did overshadow Ashwin’s exclusion to a certain extent, and former English batsman Nick Compton did not hold back before accusing Kohli of not selecting Ashwin due to personal vendetta. Taking to Twitter, the grandson of great Denis Compton questioned the administration’s lacklustre attitude for allowing Kohli to not select Ashwin because of his prickly relationship with him.
I just don’t understand how Kohli’s prickly relationship with Ashwin is allowed to keep him out of Indian teams? Do you think Captains should be allowed such autonomy?
— Nick Compton (@thecompdog) October 31, 2021
Kohli and Ashwin- Two swords in one sheath?
There are reports of ongoing rifts going between Kohli and Ashwin. While Virat is a fire-brand captain, Ashwin is no alien to aggressive instincts. He is known to speak his mind in team meetings as well as outside the dressing room. It is highly speculated in cricketing circles that Ashwin has successfully led a mutiny against Virat Kohli in the team, which led to Virat resigning from white ball captaincy of the national team and later of his IPL team RCB.
Though, people know that Ashwin does not have any personal grudge with Kohli. In 2016, when English maestro James Anderson had tried to diminish Kohli, Ashwin had come out all guns blazing against him. Ravi Ashwin is a no-nonsense kind of cricketer. You will find him either honing his skills on a cricket field or doing some other creative stuff to keep his mind fresh.
In an era where players do not turn to county cricket as it offers lower payment than IPL, Ashwin has been playing English domestic tournaments to improve his performance when India tours England. He is hands down India’s best spinner available for selection. If there is a personal issue involved, Kohli should keep it aside and think about the bigger picture i.e. India’s victory.