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Ashwin And The Curious Case Of Indian Cricket’s Poetic Justice

Selection is a matter of judgement and not about rendering justice. The Team India tour selection committee dominated by skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri took this to extremes with the studied exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin. The picture of Ashwin sitting alone during India’s victory march was a poignant image from the series. To be in the playing XI regardless of the vicissitudes of form is about chemistry more than competence. In Ashwin’s case, that chemistry was missing during Dhoni’s regime itself when his debut was delayed even as Harbhajan Singh’s career was fading. Despite his rating as the world’s top spinner and a batsman with five Test centuries he was benched for four England Tests after playing in the WTC final and performing well enough, that too in June when English conditions were skewed in favour of seam bowlers. “Horses for courses” is the dictum that Kohli-Shastri enforced and proved their point with even Shardul Thakur, the fourth seamer for the Oval Test, exceeding expectations with ball and bat too. The two men in charge of Team India chose stubbornness over received wisdom and stuck to Ravi Jadeja as batting all-rounder who bowls spin. It was upto the selectors to render justice by picking Ashwin for the T20 World Cup, which perhaps least suits him at this stage of his career.