Sunil Gavaskar criticizes team India’s decision to exclude Ashwin in WTC Final against Australia

In the much-anticipated World Test Championship final between India and Australia, it was Travis Head and Steve Smith who stole the limelight on the opening day, putting Australia in a commanding position. However, the decision to exclude Ravichandran Ashwin from the Indian playing XI did not go unnoticed, as legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar expressed his discontent with the Indian think-tank’s choice.

The absence of Ashwin, who currently holds the top spot in the ICC Test bowling rankings, raised eyebrows among cricket pundits. It was Ashwin’s exceptional performance against Australia during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy that played a significant role in India’s success in the previous edition of the World Test Championship.

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While former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly believed that India missed a match-winner like Ashwin, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting opined that India had fallen into a trap by not including him in the WTC final.

Sharing his thoughts on India’s performance at the end of Day 1, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar echoed similar sentiments as he criticized Rohit Sharma and the Indian team management for overlooking Ashwin in the summit clash. In an interview with Star Sports, Gavaskar expressed his disappointment with the decision to exclude Ashwin and questioned the selection of senior pacer Umesh Yadav as his replacement.

Gavaskar highlighted Ashwin’s exceptional skills as the top-ranked bowler in Test cricket and emphasized that his inclusion should not have been determined solely by the nature of the pitch. According to Gavaskar, a World Test Championship final demands the presence of a player of Ashwin’s caliber.

Expressing his surprise, Gavaskar remarked, “India missed a trick by not playing Ravi Ashwin. He’s the No. 1 Ranked bowler. You don’t look at the pitch for players like him. You are playing a World Test Championships final, and you don’t pick the number one bowler in Test cricket. This decision from Team India is beyond my understanding. I would have picked him in place of Umesh Yadav, who was out of action and looks out of rhythm.”

Gavaskar further highlighted Ashwin’s prowess against left-handed batsmen, pointing out that Australia’s lineup featured four left-handers. He expressed his astonishment at the absence of an off-spinner in the Indian side, considering the advantage Ashwin could have provided in such a scenario.

In Ashwin’s absence, Ravindra Jadeja was the lone spinner in the Indian lineup but failed to make an impact on Day 1 of the WTC final at The Oval. Meanwhile, Steve Smith’s unbeaten 95 and Travis Head’s magnificent 146* propelled Australia to a formidable total of 327-3 in 85 overs.