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Mohammad Azharuddin questions selectors tactics for ‘resting’ Ashwin and Jadeja

Selectors termed the omission of Ashwin and Jadeja as 'rest'.

Mohammad Azharuddin
Former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin. (Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images )

Former India skipper, Mohammad Azharuddin, has questioned the tactics deployed by the national selectors to rest the premier spinners for Australia series. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were not picked in the squad announced for the first three ODIs on Sunday. Many former cricketers have expressed their dissatisfaction on the omission of the two.

Team India is all set to host the team from down under for 5 ODIs and 3 T20 Internationals for a month. The hosts are coming off a prolific tour of Sri Lanka where they didn’t lose a single game and have hit a purple patch. On the other hand, Aussies had to come from behind to level the 2-match Test series against Bangladesh in their backyard. The series is expected to be a high-scoring one like it was in 2013 which India won by 4-3.

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In an interview, Azharuddin raised his eyebrows over the rotation policy of the selection committee. “I can understand if both Ashwin and Jadeja are rested for the Sri Lankan series. But when India is playing against a team like Australia, your best spinners should be used. After all, you are playing at home and on wickets that suit them. They should have been given a chance to play the Australian series,” he was quoted as saying by TOI.

He also believed that the county stint in England would do a world of good for Ashwin’s confidence but didn’t forget to state the importance of playing the series against Australia.

“It’s good that Ashwin is playing in the County championship. The County stint will do a world of good to his confidence. But if I were a captain, I would definitely make Ashwin and Jadeja play in the Australia series at home,” added the 54-year-old.

Virat Kohli is focussed and mentally strong

Azhar praised team India for their incredible performance in Sri Lanka and also hailed Virat Kohli as a skipper. “Their performance against Sri Lanka was outstanding. I agree that the Sri Lankans are going through a transition phase and with likes of (Muttiah) Muralitharan, (Kumar) Sangakkara and Mahela (Jayawardene) aren’t there but still the Indians had to go out there and get the job done. The Lankan batsmen got out in similar fashion in most of the innings,” he said.

Kohli is focused, mentally strong, maintains good fitness level and talented. All these elements are then backed by some good performances which makes a lethal combo for the opposition,” Azhar added. The prolific batsman of the 1990s also claimed that the litmus test of the Indian team will be overseas when they travel to Australia, England and South Africa.

“I don’t know all that. As long as you are playing and performing for the country, it is okay. But I feel the real test for this team will come when India travels away from home. These days even England produces flat wickets. But the main challenge will be for any good batsmen to score against quality swing bowling. You have to play the waiting game then,” the former India captain concluded.

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