Former India player VVS Laxman is surprised with Virat Kohli’s decision to leave out their star off-spinner R Ashwin from the playing XI for the second Test at Lord’s. Ashwin had also missed the first Test but he was likely to make it to the XI in place of the injured Shardul Thakur as well.
However, Virat Kohli didn’t change his combination of playing XI apart from including fit-again Ishant Sharma instead of R Ashwin. And, VVS Laxman said that Ashwin’s experience would have been helpful as India already had a strong quality in the pace bowling department.
While speaking to ESPNCricinfo, VVS Laxman explained how R Ashwin could have made a difference in the match. He said: “Ashwin gets that variety in the bowling attack and has got an abundance of experience,” VVS Laxman said. “It is clear from what Virat Kohli said in Nottingham that he wants to continue with this template. I think it is clear that Ashwin will have to wait for his time. If Ashwin isn’t playing in these conditions, I don’t see him getting in the XI.”
VVS Laxman opined that Ishant Sharma should have replaced Mohammed Siraj and Ravichandran Ashwin should have played in place of Shardul Thakur. He was quite disappointed with the way R Ashwin has been handled in the series as well. Notably, he was India’s first-choice spinner in the World Test Championship final and did well in both innings.
“Ishant Sharma walks into the XI when he is 100 percent fit, but that should have been in place of Mohammed Siraj,” VVS Laxman again shared. “I can’t comprehend what changed from the all-important World Test Championship final where Ravichandran Ashwin was your go-to first-choice spinner. And in a matter of a month, he can’t even find a place in the XI.”
However, India were on the verge of winning in the first Test as they needed 157 runs to win on the final day but due to rain the game didn’t take place and the match ended in a draw.