Former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta believes off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is competing against Shardul Thakur for his place in the playing XI of ongoing Test series in England. India fielded four pacers and one spinner during the first Test in England with Ashwin sitting out and Ravindra Jadeja played as a sole spinner.
India played the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand with a bowling combination of three pacers and two spinners, both of them are well-equipped with the bat. However, India opted for four pacers and one spinner in the Nottingham Test.
Ashwin bowled well during the WTC final and performed well in the only County match that he played for Surrey before the England series. But he missed to feature in the series opener as Shardul Thakur was included in the squad for being a multi-dimensional cricketer, as said by Virat Kohli.
“Lot of people have been asking this question and talking about how there is a competition between Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. But personally, I think it is not between Jadeja and Ashwin, it’s more between Shardul and Ashwin. That’s more of a tactical decision that the Indian management needs to make,” Deep Dasgupta said on BBC’s Test Match Special podcast.
He further mentioned that Team India is looking at either Hanuma Vihari or Ravindra Jadeja for the no. 6 or 7 spots. Despite Jadeja not bowling a lot of overs in Nottingham, his batting display of 56 runs can be proved vital for Virat Kohli to decide his playing XI in the next Test.
On the other hand, Shardul Thakur batted only once in the first Test and bagged a duck. However, his bowling was good during the Test as he removed Joe Root in the first innings and chipped in with crucial wickets in the second innings as well.
Deep Dasgupta further mentioned he would be surprised if India make any changes in the next Test which will be played at Lord’s from August 12.
“I would be really surprised if they make any changes for the second Test match. As far as fast bowling is concerned, they have bowled a total of 150 overs, that’s all right. Also, the fact that there was this one-month break before this Test match. They have had enough time to relax and chill and rest,” Dasgupta added.