During an event organised by My11Circle in Mumbai, Sourav Ganguly said that he was surprised to see Ravichandran Ashwin dropped from the first Test against West Indies. Ashwin, who has scored 4 hundreds and taken 60 wickets against West Indies, was benched at the expense of Ravindra Jadeja.
This is not the first time India dropped a key player. Cheteshwar Pujara was dropped in 2016 for the St Lucia Test and Ajinkya Rahane in 2017 for the Cape Town Test.
Kohli, however, cleared that he wanted to play the same combination that won India the last Test against Australia earlier this year. Ganguly said, “I would say that this is one area where Virat needs to just be a bit more consistent. Pick players and give them a bit more consistent opportunities – for them to get that confidence, rhythm, I have said that before. You saw how Shreyas Iyer played in that ODI series; you pick him and you give him the freedom to play those matches and I think that needs to happen with a lot of players and I am sure Virat will do that.”
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To put things into perspective, the pitch was such that India did not miss Ashwin’s services. Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah ran through West Indies’ batting, showcasing disciplined pace bowling.
Meanwhile, Jadeja did what he does best. He maintained his economy with the ball, and added 58 runs at No. 8, helping India take a reasonable first-innings lead. If the pitch at Sabina Park has rough patches, India might rethink playing Ashwin at the expense of Mohammad Shami.
Ganguly also congratulated Ravi Shastri on being reappointed as India’s Head Coach. “Ravi has been around for a while – five years he’s completed so he’s got an extension for two more years – hopefully now India can now go all the way in the two upcoming tournaments that are coming up, which is the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy which has now become a T20 format.
“So I hope they do well, they’re doing well, they get to the semi-finals. In 2015 in Australia they struggled, in 2017 in Mumbai West Indies got the better of them and even in this World Cup (2019), so hopefully they will get to the next step and create a winning combination”
After the second Test against West Indies, India will play home series against South Africa, comprising three T20Is and as many Tests.