TIRUNELVELI: As India went into the 2021 World Test Championship final, they played the best five bowlers they had at the time. However, the conditions did not suit playing two spinners — Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and India ended up on the wrong side of the result.
In the Test series that followed against England, India preferred playing just one spinner in Jadeja and four pace options, and successfully took a lead of 2-1 before the fifth Test that was supposed to be played in Manchester was postponed.
As the tourists return to play the final Test of the series at Edgbaston which begins on July 1, this time under Rohit Sharma, they have their share of selection headaches. KL Rahul is injured, Rohit has tested positive for Covid and Ashwin, too, is recovering from the same.
However, despite the issues surrounding the squad, former England off-spinner Graeme Swann feels that Ashwin should get a nod as the first-choice spinner, especially in Edgbaston. “I think because it’s Edbagston, I would go with people who have played there before and Ashwin has played there and done well,” said Swann on Monday in an interaction facilitated by Sony Sports Network. “It’s a wicket that will suit his type of bowling. It does turn. There is not a great deal of bounce in this pitch but the extra height that he has got will help,” he added.
He recalled the last Test India played at the venue in 2018 when Ashwin took seven wickets in the match. “I do remember in 2018, the ball to get Alastair Cook out was a pearl. It pitched in the middle and leg and hit the off-stump. Personally, if it was up to me, I would play Ashwin in every Test match India plays. What you do with the rest of the bowling line-up, you are spoilt for choice because Jadeja could play as an out-and-out batter.”
India’s tour of England | Live on Sony Sports Network from July 1, 3.30 PM.