Pakistani spin great Saqlain Mushtaq fails to understand how a proven performer like Ravichandran Ashwin has been kept out of India’s limited-overs set-up, saying a successful Test bowler is bound to succeed in the shorter formats.
Ashwin, a regular in the IPL, has been kept out of the shorter formats since July 2017. Same was the case with Ravindra Jadeja but he is back playing all three formats, largely because of his all-round abilities.
“Class is permanent whether you are a finger-spinner or wrist-spinner. Your skills, game reading abilities matter a lot. I was surprised when Ashwin was sidelined from one-day cricket,” Saqlain, the inventor of ‘Doosra’, told
more variety, the selectors had opted for wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal after the 2017 Champions Trophy. They both have established themselves in limited overs cricket but have not featured in the eleven together since the 2019 World Cup.
Though Ashwin remains India’s number one spinner at home, he is not a sure starter in overseas Tests. He was benched for the two-Test series in the West Indies last year, drawing a lot of attention and more recently, played a Test in New Zealand in the two-match series with Jadeja playing the other one.
Saqlain was part of a world-class bowling attack but now Pakistan doesn’t have spinners of his pedigree. The 43-year-old feels India, who are much stronger than Pakistan at the moment unlike his times, still possess quality spinners despite the departure of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan.
“The spinners you have are pretty good actually. Kuldeep has been impressive, Ashwin and Jadeja have been doing well consistently. They are world- class bowlers. In fact Pakistan is struggling a bit on that front. Yasir Shah has done well but his form has dipped recently. Shadab is still a work in progress.
“I am pretty confident that Ashwin and Jadeja will end up playing 100 Tests each,” said Saqlain.
“He knows how to get batsman out in the five-day game, which is much tougher than limited overs cricket. Anyone can do the containment job but someone who knows how take wickets can contain also. He knows both. How can you keep him out? You have to back your best players.”
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