India’s 1-4 loss at the hands of Australia in the ODI series Down Under which concluded in Sydney on Saturday has been compounded by some terrible decisions on the part of skipper M.S. Dhoni. His decision to leave Ashwin out of the fourth ODI was simply baffling.
Ashwin, who is the only Indian bowler to be ranked No.1 across the three formats, may not have been at his wicket taking best, but then there was no reason to drop him. In fact, one fails to understand the logic behind Ashwin not being played in the third and fourth ODI’s. The conditions were better for the slow bowlers in those matches,“ said a cricketer.
Statisics may be against Ashwin — he was not at his best in the opening two ODI’s in the current series – but that does not take away his calibre and his wicket taking role. “The Indian fast bowlers were being hit all around the field and so he (Ashwin) had to step into the role of a run saver. So I don’t think that he should have been targeted for not being able to properly do his job,“ said a cricketer.
Captain MS Dhoni’s lack of faith in his main spin bowler, Ashwin was the cause of concern. “We all know how good he is when it comes to backing cricketers. But in this case, one fails to understand as to how he could only use him for the first two matches and then cast him away. It sends wrong signals to the bowler that the captain has no faith in him. There could not be a worser message which could be delivered to any bowler,“ said the cricketer.
Former cricketer Rajender Amarnath was also at a loss at the decision to axe Ashiwn. “I think by axing him (Ashwin), Dhoni gave the Aussies a message that he did not trust his best bowler. As a captain, I fail to understand that a captain of Dhoni’s calibre could come up with such a move. It was as if letting the opposition know that my best bowler does not enjoy my confidence any more,“ the cricketer added .
Another cricketer agreed that though the conditions may not have been exactly tailor made for Ashwin, he should not have been benched for the three ODI’s. “ I agree that the conditions present in Australia may not have suited him (Ashwin), but that does not justify his omission for the last three ODI’s. I think Dhoni should have given him a chance to play in Canberra (fourth ODI). The conditions there would have certainly suited him.“ said the cricketer.
Sunil Gavaskar was also critical about Ashwin being benched and said it made little sense. “Not playing Ashwin for the second game in a row was not a good decision. I feel the conditions in Canberra would have suited him,“ he said.